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AO Ji,), 3.3. lo 






Crown 8vo, gilt edges. 

THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. With 138 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE RED FAIRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. With 99 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. With 65 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 104 Illustrations. $2.00. 

.THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE VIOLET FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates and 
64 other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75. 

THE CRIMSON FAIRY BOOK. ' With 8 Coloured Plates and 
45 other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75. 

THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 
and 50 other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75. 

THE BROWN FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 
and 42 other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75. 

THE BLUE POETRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE TRUE STORY BOOK. With 66 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE RED TRUE STORY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations. 

THE ANIMAL STORY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. $2.00. 

Illustrations. $2.00. 

66 Illustrations. $2.00. 

THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. With 8 Coloured Plates and 
44 other Illustrations. Net, $1.60. By mail, $1.75. 

THE RED ROMANCE BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 
and many other Illustrations by H. J. Ford. Net, $1.60. 
By mail, $1.75. 

Longmans, Green, and Co., New York. 









SEP 23 1959 

Copyright, 1907 

All rights reserved 

The PHmpton Press Norwood Moss. USA, 


Many years ago my friend and publisher, Mr. Charles 
Longman, presented me with Le Cabinet des Fies ('The 
Fairy Cabinet '). This work almost requires a swinging 
bookcase for its accommodation, like the Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, and in a revolving bookcase I bestowed the 
volumes. Circumstances of an intimately domestic 
character, 'not wholly unconnected,' as Mr. Micawber 
might have said, with the narrowness of my study (in 
which it is impossible to 'swing a cat'), prevent the re- 
volving bookcase from revolving at this moment. I 
can see, however, that the Fairy Cabinet contains at least 
forty volumes, and I think there are about sixty in all. 
This great plenitude of fairy tales from all quarters 
presents legends of fairies, witches, geni or Djinn, mon- 
sters, dragons, wicked stepmothers, princesses, pretty 
or plain, princes lucky or unlucky, giants, dwarfs, and 
enchantments. The stories begin with those which 
children like best — the old Blue Beard, Puss in Boots, 
Hop d* my Thumb, Little Red Riding Hood, The Sleep- 
ing Beauty, and Toads and Pearls. These were first 
collected, written, and printed at Paris in 1697. The 
author was Monsieur Charles Perrault, a famous per- 
sonage in a great perruque, who in his day wrote large 
volumes now unread. He never dreamed that he was 
to be remembered mainly by the shabby little volume 


with the tiny headpiece pictures — how unlike the 
fairy way of drawing by Mr. Ford, said to be known 
as ' Over-the-wall Ford* among authors who play 
cricket, because of the force with which he swipes! 
Perrault picked up the rustic tales which the nurse of 
his little boy used to tell, and he told them again in his 
own courtly, witty way. They do not seem to have 
been translated into English until nearly thirty years later, 
when they were published in English, with the French 
on the opposite page, by a Mr. Pote, a bookseller at 
Eton. Probably the younger Eton boys learned as 
much French as they condescended to acquire from these 
fairy tales, which are certainly more amusing than 
the TMmaque of Messire Francois de Salignac de la 
Motte-F£nelon, tutor of the children of France, Arch- 
bishop Duke of Cambrai, and Prince of the Holy Roman 

The success of Perrault was based on the pleasure 
which the court of Louis XIV. took in fairy tales; we 
know that they were told among Court ladies, from a 
letter of Madame de SeVigne\ Naturally, Perrault had 
imitators, such as Madame d'Aulnoy, a wandering lady 
of more wit than reputation. To her we owe Beauty 
and the Beast and The Yellow Dwarf. Antony Hamilton 
tried his hand with The Ram, a story too prolix and con- 
fused, best remembered for the remark, 'Ram, my friend, 
begin at the beginning !' Indeed, the narrative style 
of the Ram is lacking in lucidity! Then came The 
Arabian Nights, translated by Monsieur Galland. No- 
body has translated The Arabian Nights so well as Gal- 
land. His is the reverse of a scientific rendering, but 
it is as pleasantly readable as the Iliad and Odyssey 
would be if Alexandre Dumas had kept his promise to 


translate Homer. Galland omitted the verses and a 
great number of passages which nobody would miss, 
though the anthropologist is supposed to find them val- 
uable and instructive in later scientific translations which 
do not amuse. Later, Persian Tales, Tales of the Sea, 
and original inventions, more or less on the fairy model, 
were composed by industrious men and women. They 
are far too long — are novels, indeed, and would please 
no child or mature person of taste. All these were 
collected in the vast Fairy Cabinet, published in 1786, 
just before the Revolution. Probably their attempt 
to be simple charmed a society which was extremely ar- 
tificial, talked about 'the simple life* and the 'state of 
nature,' and was on the eve of a revolution in which hu- 
man nature revealed her most primitive traits in orgies of 

That was the end of the Court and of the Court Fairy 
Tales, and just when they were demolished, learned men 
like the Grimms and Sir Walter Scott began to take an 
interest in the popular tales of peasants and savages all 
the world over. All the world over the tales were found 
to be essentially the same things. Cinderella is every- 
where; a whole book has been written on Cinderella by 
Miss Cox, and a very good book it is, but not interest- 
ing, to children. For them the best of the collections 
of foreign fairy tales are the German stories by the Grimms, 
the Tales from the Norse, by Sir G. W. Dasent, (which some 
foolish 'grown-ups' denounced as 'improper'), and Miss 
Frere's Indian stories. There are hundreds of collec- 
tions of savage and peasant fairy tales, but, though many 
of these are most interesting, especially Bishop Calla- 
way's Zulu stories (with the Zulu versions), these do not 
come in the way of parents and uncles, and therefore do 


not come in the way of children. It is my wish that 
children should be allowed to choose their own books. 
Let their friends give them the money and turn them 
loose in the book shops! They know their own tastes, 
and if the children are born bookish, while their dear 
parents are the reverse, (and this does occur!), then the 
children make the better choice. They are unaffected 
in their selections; some want Shakespeares of their own, 
and some prefer a volume entitled Buster Brown. A 
few — alas, how few! — are fond of poetry; a still smaller 
number are fond of history. 'We know that there are 
no fairies, but history stories are true I 1 say these little in- 
nocents. I am not so sure that there are no fairies, and 
I am only too well aware that the best 'history stories' 
are not true. 

What children do love is ghost stories. 'Tell us a 
ghost story!' they cry, and I am able to meet the demand, 
with which I am in sincere sympathy. Only strong 
control prevents me from telling the last true ghost story 
which I heard yesterday. It would suit children excel- 
lently well. 'The Grey Ghost Story Book' would be a 
favourite. At a very early age I read a number of ad- 
vertisements of books, and wept because I could not buy 
dozens of them, and somebody gave me a book on Bot- 
any! It looked all right, nicely bound in green cloth, but 
within it was full of all manner of tediousness. 

In our Fairy Cabinet, which cannot extend to sixty 
volumes, we have aimed at pleasing children, not 'grown- 
ups,' at whom the old French writers directed their ro- 
mances, but have hunted for fairy tales in all quarters, 
not in Europe alone. In this volume we open, thanks to 
Dr. Ignaz Kiinos, with a story from the Turks. 'Little 
King Loc' is an original invention by M. Anatole France, 


which he very kindly permitted Mrs. Lang to adapt from 

Major Campbell, as previously, tells tales which he 
collected among the natives of India. But the sources 
are usually named at the end of each story, and when 
they are not named children will not miss them. Mrs. 
Lang, except in cases mentioned, has translated and adapted 
to the conditions of young readers the bulk of the collec- 
tion, and Mrs. Skovgaard-Pedersen has done 'The Green 
Knight' from the Danish. I must especially thank Mon- 
sieur Macler for permitting us to use some of his Contes 
Arminiens (Paris: Ernest Leroux, Editeur). 



Madschun i 

The Blue Parrot 9 

Geirlaug the King's Daughter 27 

The Story of Little King Loc 43 

' A Long-bow Story ' 64 

Jackal or Tiger? 71 

The Comb and the Collar 87 

The Thanksgiving of the Wazir 103 

Samba the Coward 108 

Kupti and Imani 119 

The Strange Adventures of Little Maia . 131 

Diamond cut Diamond 144 

The Green Knight 152 

The Five Wise Words of the Guru 167 

The Golden-headed Fish 178 

Dorani 188 

The Satin Surgeon 198 

The Billy Goat and the King 211 

The Story of Zoulvisia 216 

Grasp all y Lose all 234 

The Fate of the Turtle 242 



The Snake Prince 247 

The Prince and Princess in the Forest .... 256 

The Clever Weaver 276 

The Boy who found Fear at last 279 

He Wins who Waits 289 

The Steel Cane 301 

The Punishment of the Fairy Gangana .... 305 

The Silent Princess 318 



The Blue Parrot 

' Stay here and you shall be King ' . 

The Princess and the Wolves in the Forest 

The Boy in the Valley 

The Ascent of the Crystal Tower . 

1 Queen of Snakes, give me back my Husband? 9 

The Sea-maiden with a wicked Face . 

The Princess chooses 


To face p. 60 




Ismenor brings Lino to Riquette 

The Magician* s Wife whistles to the Parrot 

The Dragon Discomfited 

' Will you lend me your ox, fair maiden ? ' . 
Abeille finds herself among the Little Men 
King Loc carries Abeille away from her 


The BunniaWs Story 

''Quick! prince! quick! the time is flying, 

comb me at once 9 

Samba found skulking by his Wife . . 

To face p. 12 






The Princess changes Clothes with the Goose- 


i What think you, O mortal, of my fair and 

lovely wife?* 

The Prince has pity on the Gold-headed Fish 
i He never could persuade her to say a single 

word. 1 

The Princess gets her Letter .... 
' / accept your challenge. Mount and follow 

me. I am Zoulvisia.' 

The Witch and her Snakes 

The Princess of Arabia released from the 

Iron Pillar 

The Boy secures the Bracelet .... 
Blind Rage filled the Heart of the Watcher 
i The Seven Veils fell from her ' 

To face p. 162 





33 2 



Love at first sight 2 

How the Birds were brought to the Sultan ... 5 

The Swallow brings the Note to Lino .... 18 

Pull as He might, He could not get free ... 37 

( Is this the Man that You wish to Marry ?' . . . 62 

The Farmer finds the Queen weeping by the Palanquin 73 

The Unlucky Shot 75 

Ameer Ali wins the Anklet 78 

The Princess saves the White Fox 100 

Imani attends to the Crippled Fakir 121 

Imani listens to what the Monkeys say . . . . 127 

Maia carried off by the Cockchafer 135 



Maia and the Spiders in the Evening 

He helped her to jump from the Swallow* s back 

The Poisoned Nail 

The Invisible Prince goes with the Ladies 

The King laughs at the Billygoat 

Suddenly the Tree rose up again and flew away 

The Snake Prince visits his Wife 

The Robber-chief catches the Queen . ' 

The Hawk flies away with the Lamp 

The Silent Princess speaks at last 




2 59 



Once upon a time there lived, in a small cottage among 
some hills, a woman with her son, and, to her great grief, 
the young man, though hardly more than twenty years of 
age, had not as much hair on his head as a baby. But, old 
as he looked, the youth was very idle, and whatever trade 
his mother put him to he refused to work, and in a few 
days always came home again. 

On a fine summer morning he was lying as usual half 
asleep in the little garden in front of the cottage when the 
sultan's daughter came riding by, followed by a number 
of gaily dressed ladies. The youth lazily raised himself 
on his elbow to look at her, and that one glance changed his 
whole nature. 

'I will marry her and nobody else,' he thought. And 
jumping up, he went to find his mother. 

'You must go at once to the sultan, and tell him that I 
want his daughter for my wife,' he said. 

'What?' shouted the old woman, shrinking back into a 
corner, for nothing but sudden madness could explain such 
an amazing errand. 

'Don't you understand? You must go at once to the 
sultan and tell him that I want his daughter for my wife,' 
repeated the youth impatiently. 

'But — but, do you know what you are saying?' stam- 
mered the mother. 'You will learn no trade, and have 
only the five gold pieces left you by your father, and can 
you really expect that the sultan would give his daughter 
to a penniless bald-pate like you?' 


'That is my affair; do as I bid you.' And neither day 
nor night did her son cease tormenting her, till, in despair, 
she put on her best clothes, and wrapped her veil about her, 
and went over the hill to the palace. 

It was the day that the sultan set apart for hear- 
ing the complaints and petitions of his people, so the 
woman found no difficulty in gaining admission to his 

'Do not think me mad, O Excellency,' she began, 
'though I know I must seem like it. But I have a son 
who, since his eyes have rested on the veiled face of the 
princess, has not left me in peace day or night till I con- 
sented to come to the palace, and to ask your Excellency 
for your daughter's hand. It was in vain I answered that 
my head might pay the forfeit of my boldness, he would 


listen to nothing. Therefore am I here; do with me even 
as you will!' 

Now the sultan always loved anything out of the com- 
mon, and this situation was new indeed. So, instead of 
ordering the trembling creature to be flogged or cast into 
prison, as some other sovereigns might have done, he merely 
said: 'Bid your son come hither. ' 

The old woman stared in astonishment at such a reply. 
But when the sultan repeated his words even more gently 
than before, and did not look in anywise angered, she took 
courage, and bowing again she hastened homeward. 

'Well, how have you sped?' asked her son eagerly as she 
crossed the threshold. 

'You are to go up to the palace without delay, and 
speak to the sultan himself,' replied the mother. And 
when he heard the good news, his face lightened up 
so wonderfully that his mother thought what a pity it 
was that he had no hair, as then he would be quite hand- 

'Ah, the lightning will not fly more swiftly/ cried he. 
And in another instant he was out of her sight. 

When the sultan beheld the bald head of his daughter's 
wooer, he no longer felt in the mood for joking, and re- 
solved that he must somehow or other shake himself free 
of such an unwelcome lover. But as he had summoned 
the young man to the palace, he could hardly dismiss him 
without a reason, so he hastily said: 

'I hear you wish to marry my daughter? Well and 
good. But the man who is to be her husband must first 
collect all the birds in the world, and bring them into the 
gardens of the palace ; for hitherto no birds have made their 
homes in the trees.' 

The young man was filled with despair at the sultan's 
words. How was he to snare all these birds? and even 
if he did succeed in catching them it would take years 
to carry them to the palace! Still, he was too proud to 
let the sultan think that he had given up the princess without 


a struggle, so he took a road that led past the palace and 
walked on, not noticing whither he went. 

In this manner a week slipped by, and at length he found 
himself crossing a desert with great rocks scattered here 
and there. In the shadow cast by one of these was seated 
a holy man or dervish, as he was called, who motioned to 
the youth to sit beside him. 

' Something is troubling you, my son,' said the holy man; 
'tell me what it is, as I may be able to help you.' 

'O, my father,' answered the youth, 'I wish to marry 
the princess of my country; but the sultan refuses to give 
her to me unless I can collect all the birds in the world and 
bring them into his garden. And how can I, or any other 
man, do that ? ' 

'Do not despair,' replied the dervish, 'it is not so diffi- 
cult as it sounds. Two days' journey from here, in 
the path of the setting sun, there stands a cypress tree, 

rger than any other cypress that grows upon the earth. 
''Sit down where the shadow is darkest, close to the trunk, 
and keep very still. By-and-by you will hear a mighty 
rushing of wings, and all the birds in the world will come 
and nestle in the branches. Be careful not to make a 
sound till everything is quiet again, and then say 
"Madschun!" At that the birds will be forced to remain 
where they are — not one can move from its perch; and 
you will be able to place them all over your head and arms 
and body, and in this way you must carry them to the 

With a glad heart the young man thanked the dervish, 
and paid such close heed to his directions that, a few 
days later, a strange figure covered with soft feathers 
walked into the presence of the sultan. The princess's 
father was filled with surprise, for never had he seen 
such a sight before. Oh! how lovely were those little 
bodies, and bright frightened eyes! Soon a gentle stirring 
was heard, and what a multitude of wings unfolded them- 
selves: blue wings, yellow wings, red wings, green wings. 


And when the young man whispered 'Go,' they first 
flew in circles round the sultan's head, and then dis- 
appeared through the open window, to choose homes in 
the garden. 

'I have done your bidding, O Sultan, and now give 

me the princess,' said the youth. And the suitan answered 

'Yes! oh, yes! you have pleased me well! Only one 
thing remains to turn you into a husband that any girl 
might desire. That head of yours, you know — it is so 


very bald! Get it covered with nice thick curly hair, and 
then I will give you my daughter. You are so clever that 
I am sure this will give you no trouble at all.' 

Silently the young man listened to the sultan's words, 
and silently he sat in his mother's kitchen for many days 
to come, till, one morning, the news reached him that the 
sultan had betrothed his daughter to the son of the wizir, 
and that the wedding was to be celebrated without delay 
in the palace. With that he arose in wrath, and made 
his way quickly and secretly to a side door, used only by 
the workmen who kept the building in repair, and, unseen 
by anyone, he made his way into the mosque, and then 
entered the palace by a gallery which opened straight into 
the great hall. Here the bride and bridegroom and two 
or three friends were assembled, waiting for the appear- 
ance of the sultan for the contract to be signed. 

'Madschunl' whispered the youth from above. And 
instantly everyone remained rooted to the ground; and 
some messengers whom the sultan had sent to see that all 
was ready shared the same fate. 

At length, angry and impatient, the sultan went down to 
behold with his own eyes what had happened, but as no- 
body could give him any explanation, he bade one of his 
attendants to fetch a magician, who dwelt near one of the 
city gates, to remove the spell which had been cast by some 
evil genius. 

'It is your own fault,' said the magician, when he had 
heard the sultan's story. 'If you had not broken your 
promise to the young man, your daughter would not have 
had this ill befall her. Now there is only one remedy, and 
the bridegroom you have chosen must yield his place to the 
bald-headed youth.' 

Sore though he was in his heart, the sultan knew that 
the magician was wiser than he, and despatched his most 
trusted servants to seek out the young man without a 
moment's delay and bring him to the palace. The youth, 
who all this time had been hiding behind a pillar, smiled 


to himself when he heard these words, and, hastening home, 
he said to his mother: 'If messengers from the sultan should 
come here and ask for me, be sure you answer that it is a 
long while since I went away, and that you cannot tell 
where I may be, but that if they will give you money 
enough for your journey, as you are very poor, you will do 
your best to find me.' Then he hid himself in the loft 
above, so that he could listen to all that passed. 

The next minute someone knocked loudly at the door, 
and the old woman jumped up and opened it. 

'Is your bald-headed son here?' asked the man outside. 
1 If so, let him come with me, as the sultan wishes to speak 
with him directly.' 

'Alas! sir,' replied the woman, putting a corner of her 
veil to her eyes, 'he left me long since, and since that day 
no news of him has reached me.' 

'Oh! good lady, can you not guess where he may be? 
The sultan intends to bestow on him the hand of his daugh- 
ter, and he is certain to give a large reward to the man 
who brings him back.' 

'He never told me whither he was going,' answered 
the crone, shaking her head. 'But it is a great honour 
that the sultan does him, and well worth some trouble. 
There are places where, perhaps, he may be found, but 
they are known to me only, and I am a poor woman and 
have no money for the journey. ' 

'Oh! that will not stand in the way,' cried the man. 
'In this purse are a thousand gold pieces; spend them 
freely. Tell me where I can find him and you shall have as 
many more.' 

'Very well,' said she, 'it is a bargain; and now farewell, 
for I must make some preparations; but in a few days at 
furthest you shall hear from me.' 

For nearly a week both the old woman and her son were 
careful not to leave the house till it was dark, lest they 
should be seen by any of the neighbours, and as they did 
not even kindle a fire or light a lantern, everyone supposed 


that the cottage was deserted. At length one fine morning, 
the young man got up early and dressed himself, and put 
on his best turban, and after a hasty breakfast took the 
road to the palace. 

The huge negro before the door evidently expected him, 
for without a word he let him pass, and another attendant 
who was waiting inside conducted him straight into the 
presence of the sultan, who welcomed him gladly. 

'Ah, my son! where have you hidden yourself all this 
time?' said he. And the bald-headed man answered: 

'Oh, Sultan! Fairly I won your daughter, but you 
broke your word, and would not give her te, me. Then 
my home grew hateful to me, and I set out to wander 
through the world! But now that you have repented 
of your ill-faith, I have come to claim the wife who is 
mine of right. Therefore bid your wizir prepare the con- 

So a fresh contract was prepared, and at the wish of 
the new bridegroom was signed by the sultan and the 
wizir in the chamber where they met. After this was 
done, the youth begged the sultan to lead him to the prin- 
cess, and together they entered the big hall, where everyone 
was standing exactly as they were when the young man had 
uttered the fatal word. 

'Can you remove the spell?' asked the sultan anx- 

'I think so,' replied the young man (who, to say the 
truth, was a little anxious himself), and stepping forward, 
he cried: 

'Let the victims of Madschun be free!' 

No sooner were the words uttered than the statues 
returned to life, and the bride placed her hand joyfully 
in that of her new bridegroom. As for the old one, he 
vanished completely, and no one ever knew what became 
of him. 

(Adapted from TQrkische Volksm&rchen aus Stambul. Dr. Ignaz Kflnos. E. J. 

Brill. Leiden.) 


In a part of Arabia where groves of palms and sweet- 
scented flowers give the traveller rest after toilsome 
journeys unjjer burning skies, there reigned a young king 
whose name was Lino. He had grown up under the 
wise rule of his father, who had lately died, and though 
he was only nineteen, he did not believe, like many young 
men, that he must change all the laws in order to show 
how clever he was, but was content with the old ones which 
had made the people happy and the country prosperous. 
There was only one fault that his subjects had to 
find with him, and that was that he did not seem in any 
hurry to be married, in spite of the prayers that they fre- 
quently offered him. 

The neighbouring kingdom was governed by the Swan 
fairy, who had an only daughter, the Princess Hermosa, 
who was as charming in her way as Lino in his. The 
Swan fairy always had an ambassador at the young 
king's court, and on hearing the grumbles of the citizens 
that Lino showed no signs of taking a wife, the good 
man resolved that he would try his hand at match- 
making. 'For,' he said, 'if there is any one living 
who is worthy of the Princess Hermosa he is to be 
found here. At any rate, I can but try and bring them 

Now, of course, it was not proper to offer the princess 
in marriage, and the difficulty was to work upon the un- 
conscious king so as to get the proposal to come from 
him. But the ambassador was well used to the ways of 


courts, and after several conversations on the art of 
painting, which Lino loved, he led the talk to portraits, 
and mentioned carelessly that a particularly fine picture 
had lately been made of his own princess. * Though, as 
for a likeness,' he concluded, * perhaps it is hardly as 
good as this small miniature, which was painted a year 

The king took it, and looked at it closely. 

'Ah!' he sighed, 'that must be flattered I It cannot 
be possible that any woman should be such a miracle of 

'If you could only see her,' answered the ambas- 

The king did not reply, but the ambassador was not at 
all surprised when, the following morning, he was sent for 
into the royal presence. 

'Since you showed me that picture,' began Lino, 
almost before the door was shut, 'I have not been able to 
banish the face of the princess from my thoughts. I have 
summoned you here to inform you that I am about to send 
special envoys to the court of the Swan fairy, asking her 
daughter in marriage.' 

'I cannot, as you will understand, speak for my mis- 
tress in so important a matter,' replied the ambassador, 
stroking his beard in order to conceal the satisfaction he 
felt. ' But I know that she will certainly be highly gratified 
at your proposal.' 

'If that is so,' cried the king, his whole face beaming 
with joy, 'then, instead of sending envoys, I will go my- 
self, and take you with me. In three days my prepara- 
tions will be made, and we will set out.' 

Unluckily for Lino, he had for his neighbour on the 
other side a powerful magician named Ismenor, who was 
king of the Isle of Lions, and the father of a hideous 
daughter, whom he thought the most beautiful creature 
that ever existed. Riquette, for such was her name, had 


also fallen in love with a portrait, but it was of King Lino, 
and she implored her father to give him to her for a hus- 
band. Ismenor, who considered that no man lived 
who was worthy of his treasure, was about to send his 
chief minister to King Lino on this mission, when the 
news reached him that the king had already started for 
the court of the Swan fairy. Riquette was thrown into 
transports of grief, and implored her father to prevent 
the marriage, which Ismenor promised to do; and calling 
for an ugly and humpbacked little dwarf named Rabot, 
he performed some spells which transported them quickly 
to a rocky valley through which the king and his escort 
were bound to pass. When the tramp of horses was 
heard, the magician took out an enchanted handkerchief, 
which rendered invisible any one who touched it. Giving 
one end to Rabot, and holding the other himself, they 
walked unseen amongst the horsemen, but not a trace of 
Lino was to be found. And this was natural enough, 
because the king, tired out with the excitement and 
fatigue of the last few days, had bidden the heavy 
coaches, laden with presents for the princess, to go 
forwards, while he rested under the palms with a few of 
his friends. Here Ismenor beheld them, all sound asleep; 
and casting a spell which prevented their waking till he 
wished them to do so, he stripped the king of all his clothes 
and dressed him in those of Rabot, whom he touched with 
his ring, saying: 

'Take the shape of Lino until you have wedded the 
daughter of the Swan fairy.' 

And so great was the magician's power that Rabot 
positively believed himself to be really the king! 

When the groom had mounted Lino's horse, and had 
ridden out of sight, Ismenor aroused the king, who stared 
with astonishment at the dirty garments in which he 
was dressed; but before he had time to look about him, 
the magician caught him up in a cloud, and carried him 
off to his daughter. 


Meantime Rabot had come up with the others, who 
never guessed for a moment that he was not their own 

'I am hungry,' said he, 'give me something to eat at 

'May it please your majesty,' answered the steward, 
'the tents are not even set up, and it will be at least an hour 
before your supper is served! We thought ' 

'Who taught you to think?' interrupted the false king 
rudely. ' You are nothing but a fool ! Get me some horse's 
flesh directly — it is the best meat in the world!' 

The steward could hardly believe his ears. King 
Lino, the most polite man under the sun, to speak to his 
faithful servant in such a manner! And to want horse's 
flesh too! Why he was so delicate in his appetite that 
he lived mostly on fruit and cakes. Well, well, there 
was no knowing what people would come to; and, any- 
how, he must obey at once, if he wished to keep his head 
on his shoulders. Perhaps, after all, it was love which had 
driven him mad, and, if so, by-and-by he might come right 

Whatever excuses his old servants might invent for 
their master, by the time the procession reached the 
Swan's fairy capital there were no more horses left, and 
they were forced to walk up to the palace on foot. Hiding 
their surprise as best they could, they begged the king to 
follow them, dismounting from their own horses, as he, 
they supposed, preferred to walk. They soon perceived 
the Swan fairy and her daughter awaiting them on a low 
balcony, under which the king stopped. 

'Madam,' he said, 'you may be surprised that I have 
come to ask your daughter's hand in so unceremonious a 
fashion; but the journey is long, and I was hungry and ate 
my horse, which is the best meat in the world; and I forced 
my courtiers to eat theirs also. But for all that I am a 
great king, and wish to be your son-in-law. And now that is 
settled, where is Hermosa?' 


'Sire,' answered the queen, not a little displeased as 
well as amazed at the king's manner, which was so 
different from anything she had been led to expect. 
'You possess my daughter's portrait, and it can have made 
but little impression on you if you don't recognise her at 

'I don't remember any portrait,' replied Rabot; 'but 
perhaps it may be in my pocket after all.' And he searched 
everywhere, while the ladies-in-waiting looked on with 
astonishment, but of course found nothing. When he had 
finished he turned to the princess, who stood there blush- 
ing and angry, and said: 

' If it is you whom I have come to marry, I think you are 
very beautiful, and I am sure if I had even seen your por- 
trait I should have remembered it. Let us have the wedding 
as soon as possible; and, meantime, I should like to go to 
sleep, for your country is very different from mine, and I 
can assure you that after walking over stones and sand for 
days and days one needs a little rest.' 

And without waiting for a reply he bade one of the 
pages conduct him to his room, where he was soon snoring 
so loud that he could be heard at the other end of the 

As soon as he was out of their sight the poor princess 
flung herself into her mother's arms, and burst into tears. 
For fifteen days she had had King Lino's portrait con- 
stantly before her, while the letter from their own am- 
bassador speaking of the young man's grace and charm 
had never left her pocket. True, the portrait was faith- 
ful enough, but how could that fair outside contain so 
rough and rude a soul? Yet this even she might have 
forgiven had the king shown any of the signs of love and 
admiration to which she had been so long accustomed. As 
for her mother, the poor Swan fairy was so bewildered at 
the extraordinary manners of her new son-in-law, that she 
was almost speechless. 

Matters were in this state when King Lino's chamber- 


lain begged for a private audience of her majesty, and no 
sooner were they alone than he told her that he feared that 
his master had suddenly gone mad, or had fallen under the 
spell of some magician. 

'I had been lost in astonishment before,' said he, 'but 
now that he has failed to recognise the princess, and no 
longer possesses her portrait, which he never would part 
from for a single instant, my amazement knows no 
bounds. Perhaps, madam, your fairy gifts may be able 
to discover the reason of this change in one whose courtesy 
was the talk of the kingdom.' And with a low bow he took 
his departure. 

The queen stood where the chamberlain left her, 
thinking deeply. Suddenly her face cleared, and going 
to an old chest which she kept in a secret room, she drew 
from it a small mirror. In this mirror she could see faith- 
fully reflected whatever she wished, and at this moment 
she desired above all things to behold King Lino as he really 

Ah! the chamberlain was right! It was not he who 
was lying on his bed snoring till the whole palace shook 
beneath him. No, this was her real son-in-law — the 
man dressed in dirty clothes, and imprisoned in one of 
Ismenor's strongest towers, and kissing the portrait of 
Hermosa, which had escaped the wizard's notice, owing 
to the young king having worn it, for better concealment, 
tied amongst his hair. Calling hastily to her daughter, 
she bade her also look, and Hermosa had the pleasure of 
gazing on Lino, who was behaving exactly as she could 
have wished. The mirror was still in her hand when 
the door of the prison opened, and there entered the hide- 
ous Riquette, who, from her upraised eyes, seemed to be 
begging from Lino some favour which he refused to grant. 
Of course Hermosa and her mother could not hear their 
words, but from Riquette's angry face as she left the room, 
it was not difficult to guess what had happened. But the 
mirror had more to tell, for it appeared that in fury at her 


rejection by the king, Riquette had ordered four strong 
men to scourge him till he fainted, which was done 
in the sight of Hermosa, who in horror dropped the mirror, 
and would have fallen, had she not been caught by her 

'Control yourself, my child, ' said the fairy. 'We have 
need of all our wits if we are to rescue the king from the 
power of those wicked people. And first it is necessary 
to know who the man that has taken his name and his face 
really is.' 

Then, picking up the mirror, she wished that she might 
behold the false lover; and the glass gave back a vision of 
a dirty, greasy groom, lying, dressed as he was, on her bed 
of state. 

'So this is the trick Ismenor hoped to play us! 
Well, we will have our revenge, whatever it costs us to 
get it. Only we must be very careful not to let him guess 
that he has not deceived us, for his skill in magic is greater 
than mine, and I shall have to be very prudent. To begin 
with, I must leave you, and if the false king asks why, 
then answer that I have to settle some affairs on the 
borders of my kingdom. Meanwhile, be sure you treat 
him most politely, and arrange fetes to amuse him. 
If he shows any sign of being suspicious, you can even 
give him to understand that, on your marriage, I intend 
to give up the crown to your husband. And now fare- 
well!' So saying, the Swan fairy waved her hand, and a 
cloud came down and concealed her, and nobody imagined 
that the beautiful white cloud that was blown so rapidly 
across the sky was the chariot that was carrying the Swan 
fairy to the tower of Ismenor. 

Now the tower was situated in the midst of a forest, 
so the queen thought that, under cover of the dark trees, 
it would be quite easy for her to drop to earth unseen. 
But the tower was so thoroughly enchanted that the 
more she tried to reach the ground the tighter something 



tried to hold her back. At length, by putting forth all 
the power she possessed, she managed to descend to the 
foot of the tower, and there, weak and faint as she was 
with her exertions, she lost no time in working her 
spells, and found that she could only overcome Ismenor 
by means of a stone from the ring of Gyges. But how 
was she to get this ring? for the magic book told her that 
Ismenor guarded it night and day among his most 
precious treasures. However, get it she must, and in 

the meantime the first step was to see the royal prisoner 
himself. So, drawing out her tablets, she wrote as 

'The bird which brings you this letter is the Swan fairy, 
mother of Hermosa, who loves you as much as you love 
her!' And after this assurance, she related the wicked 
plot of which he had been the victim. Then, quickly 
changing herself into a swallow, she began to fly round 


the tower, till she discovered the window of Lino's 
prison. It was so high up that bars seemed needless, 
especially as four soldiers were stationed in the passage 
outside, therefore the fairy was able to enter, and even 
to hop on his shoulder, but he was so much occupied with 
gazing at the princess's portrait that it was some time be- 
fore she could attract his attention. At last she gently 
scratched his cheek with the corner of the note, and he 
looked round with a start. On perceiving the swallow 
he knew at once that help had come, and tearing open 
the letter, he wept with joy on seeing the words it con- 
tained, and asked a thousand questions as to Hermosa, 
which the swallow was unable to answer, though, by re- 
peated nods, she signed to him to read further. 'Must I 
indeed pretend to wish to marry that horrible Riquette?' 
he cried, when he had finished. 'Can I obtain the stone 
from the magician ?' 

Accordingly the next morning, when Riquette paid 
him her daily visit, he received her much more graciously 
than usual. The magician's daughter could not contain 
her delight at this change, and in answer to her expres- 
sions of joy, Lino told her that he had had a dream by 
which he had learned the inconstancy of Hermosa; also 
that a fairy had appeared and informed him that if he 
wished to break the bonds which bound him to the faith- 
less princess and transfer his affections to the daughter 
of Ismenor, he must have in his possession for a day and 
a night a stone from the ring of Gyges, now in the posses- 
sion of the magician. This news so enchanted Riquette, 
that she flung her arms round the king's neck and em- 
braced him tenderly, greatly to his disgust, as he would 
infinitely have preferred the sticks of the soldiers. How- 
ever, there was no help for it, and he did his best to seem 
pleased, till Riquette relieved him by announcing that she 
must lose no time in asking her father and obtaining from 
him the precious stone. 

His daughter's request came as a great surprise to Ismenor, 


whose suspicions were instantly excited; but, think as he 
would, he could not see any means by which the king, so 
closely guarded, might have held communication with 
the Swan fairy. Still, he would do nothing hastily, and, 
hiding his dismay, he told Riquette that his only wish was 
to make her happy, and that as she wished so much for 
the stone he would fetch it for her. Then he went into 
the closet where all his spells were worked, and in a short 
time he discovered that his enemy the Swan fairy was at 
that moment inside his palace. 

'So that is it!' he said, smiling grimly. 'Well, she shall 
have a stone by all means, but a stone that will turn every- 
one who touches it into marble.' And placing a small 
ruby in a box, he returned to his daughter. 

'Here is the talisman which will gain you the love of 
King Lino/ he said; 'but be sure you give him the box 
unopened, or else the stone will lose all its virtue.' With 
a cry of joy Riquette snatched the box from his hands, 
and ran off to the prison, followed by her father, who, 
holding tightly the enchanted handkerchief, was able, 
unseen, to watch the working of the spell. As he 
expected, at the foot of the tower stood the Swan fairy, 
who had had the imprudence to appear in her natural 
shape, waiting for the stone which the prince was to throw 
to her. Eagerly she caught the box as it fell from the 
prince's hands, but no sooner had her fingers touched the 
ruby, than a curious hardening came over her, her limbs 
stiffened, and her tongue could hardly utter the words 'We 
are betrayed.' 

'Yes, you are betrayed,' cried Ismenor, in a terrible 
voice; 'and you,' he continued, dragging the king to the 
window, 'you shall turn into a parrot, and a parrot you will 
remain until you can persuade Hermosa to crush in your 

He had hardly finished before a blue parrot flew out 
into the forest; and the magician, mounting in his winged 
chariot, set off for the Isle of Swans, where he changed 


everybody into statues, exactly in the positions in which 
he found them, not even excepting Rabot himself. Only 
Hermosa was spared, and her he ordered to get into his 
chariot beside him. In a few minutes he reached the 
Forest of Wonders, when the magician got down, and 
dragged the unhappy princess out after him. 

'I have changed your mother into a stone, and your 
lover into a parrot,' said he, 'and you are to become a tree, 
and a tree you will remain until you have crushed the head 
of the person you love best in the world. But I will leave 
you your mind and memory, that your tortures may be in- 
creased a thousand-fold.' 

Great magician as he was, Ismenor could not have in- 
vented a more terrible fate had he tried for a hundred 
years. The hours passed wearily by for the poor princess, 
who longed for a wood-cutter's axe to put an end to her 
misery. How were they to be delivered from their doom ? 
And even supposing that King Lino did fly that way, there 
were thousands of blue parrots in the forest, and how was 
she to know him, or he her? As to her mother — ah! that 
was too bad to think about! So, being a woman, she kept 
on thinking. 

Meanwhile the blue parrot flew about the world, 
making friends wherever he went, till, one day, he entered 
the castle of an old wizard who had just married a 
beautiful young wife. Grenadine, for such was her 
name, led a very dull life, and was delighted to have a 
playfellow, so she gave him a golden cage to sleep in, 
and delicious fruits to eat. Only in one way did he 
disappoint her — he never would talk as other parrots 

'If you only knew how happy it would make me, I'm 
sure you would try,' she was fond of saying; but the parrot 
did not seem to hear her. 

One morning, however, she left the room to gather 
some flowers, and the parrot, finding himself alone, 
hopped to the table, and, picking up a pencil, wrote 


some verses on a piece of paper. He had just finished 
when he was startled by a noise, and letting fall the pencil, 
he flew out of the window. 

Now hardly had he dropped the pencil when the wizard 
lifted a corner of the curtain which hung over the 
doorway, and advanced into the room. Seeing a paper 
on the table, he picked it up, and great was his surprise as 
he read: 

* Fair princess, to win your grace, 
I will hold discourse with you; 
Silence, though, were more in place 
Than chatt'ring like a cockatoo.' 

'I half suspected it was enchanted/ murmured the 
wizard to himself. And he fetched his books and searched 
them, and found that instead of being a parrot, the bird 
was really a king who had fallen under the wrath of 
a magician, and that magician the man whom the 
wizard hated most in the world. Eagerly he read on, 
seeking for some means of breaking the enchantment, and 
at last, to his great joy, he discovered the remedy. Then 
he hurried to his wife, who was lying on some cushions 
under the tree on which the parrot had perched, and in- 
formed her that her favourite was really the king of a great 
country, and that, if she would whistle for the bird, they 
would all go together to a certain spot in the Forest of 
Marvels, * where I will restore him to his own shape. Only 
you must not be afraid or cry out, whatever I do,' added 
he, * or everything will be spoilt. ' The wizard's wife jumped 
up in an instant, so delighted was she, and began to whistle 
the song that the parrot loved; but as he did not wish it 
to be known that he had been listening to the conversa- 
tion he waited until she had turned her back, when he 
flew down the tree and alighted on her shoulder. Then 
they got into a golden boat, which carried them to a clear- 
ing in the forest, where three tall trees stood by them- 


'I want these trees for my magic fire,' he said to his 
wife; 'put the parrot on that branch, he will be quite safe, 
and go yourself to a little distance. If you stay too near 
you may get your head crushed in their fall.' 

At these words the parrot suddenly remembered the 
prophecy of Ismenor, and held himself ready, his heart 
beating at the thought that in one of those trees he beheld 
Hermosa. Meanwhile the magician took a spade, and 
loosened the earth of the roots of the three trees so that they 
might fall all together. Directly the parrot observed them 
totter he spread his wings and flew right under the middle 
one, which was the most beautiful of the three. There 
was a crash, then Lino and Hermosa stood facing each 
other, clasped hand in hand. 

After the first few moments, the princess's thoughts 
turned to her mother, and falling at the feet of the magician, 
who was smiling with delight at the success of his plan, she 
implored him to help them once more, and to give the Swan 
fairy back her proper shape. 

'That is not so easy,' said he, 'but I will try what I 
can do.' And transporting himself to his palace to obtain 
a little bottle of poisoned water, he waited till nightfall, 
and started at once for Ismenor's tower. Of course, had 
Ismenor consulted his books he would have seen what 
his enemy was doing, he might have protected himself; 
but he had been eating and drinking too much, and had 
gone to bed, sleeping heavily. Changing himself into a 
bat, the magician flew into the room, and hiding himself 
in the curtains, he poured all the liquid over Ismenor's 
face, so that he died without a groan. At the same instant 
the Swan fairy became a woman again, for no magician, 
however powerful, can work spells which last beyond his 
own life. 

So when the Swan fairy returned to her capital she 
found all her courtiers waiting at the gate to receive her, 
and in their midst, beaming with happiness, Hermosa and 
King Lino. Standing behind them, though a long way off, 


was Rabot; but his dirty clothes had given place to clean 
ones, when his earnest desire was granted, and the princess 
had made him head of her stables. 

And here we must bid them all farewell, feeling sure they 
will have many years of happiness before them after the 
terrible trials through which they have passed. 

(Adapted and shortened from Le Cabinet des Fees.) 


One day a powerful king and his beautiful wife were 
sitting in the gardens of their capital city, talking 
earnestly about the future life of their little son, who was 
sleeping by their side in his beautiful golden cradle. 
They had been married for many years without children, 
so when this baby came they thought themselves the hap- 
piest couple in the whole world. He was a fine sturdy 
little boy, who loved to kick and to strike out with his fists ; 
but even if he had been weak and small they would still 
have thought him the most wonderful creature upon earth, 
and so absorbed were they in making plans for him, 
that they never noticed a huge dark shadow creeping up, 
till a horrible head with gleaming teeth stretched over 
them, and in an instant their beloved baby was snatched 

For a while the king and queen remained where they 
were, speechless with horror. Then the king rose slowly, 
and holding out his hand to his wife, led her weeping 
into the palace, and for many days their subjects saw no 
more of them. 

Meanwhile the dragon soared high into the air, 
holding the cradle between his teeth, and the baby still 
slept on. He flew so fast that he soon crossed the borders 
of another kingdom, and again he beheld the king and 
queen of the country seated in the garden with a little 
girl lying in a wonderful cradle of white satin and lace. 
Swooping down from behind as he had done before, he 
was just about to seize the cradle, when the king jumped 


up and dealt him such a blow with his golden staff that the 
dragon not only started back, but in his pain let fall the boy, 
as he spread his wings and soared into the air away from 
all danger. 

'That was a narrow escape,' said the king, turning to 
his wife, who sat pale with fright, and clasping her baby 
tightly in her arms. 'Frightful/ murmured the queen; 
'but look, what is that glittering object that is lying out 
there?' The king walked in the direction of her finger, 
and to his astonishment beheld another cradle and another 

'Ah! the monster must have stolen this as he sought to 
steal Geirlaug,' cried he. And stooping lower, he read 
some words that were written on the fine linen that was 
wound round the boy. 'This is Grethari, son of Grethari 
the king!' Unfortunately it happened that the two neigh- 
bouring monarchs had had a serious quarrel, and for some 
years had ceased holding communication with each other. 
So, instead of sending a messenger at once to Grethari to 
tell him of the safety of his son, the king contented himself 
with adopting the baby, which was brought up with Geirlaug 
the princess. 

For a while things went well with the children, who 
were as happy as the day was long, but at last there came 
a time when the queen could no more run races or play at 
hide-and-seek with them in the garden as she was so fond 
of doing, but lay and watched them from a pile of soft 
cushions. By-and-by she gave up doing even that, and 
people in the palace spoke with low voices, and even Geirlaug 
and Grethari trod gently and moved quietly when they 
drew near her room. At length, one morning, they were 
sent for by the king himself, who, his eyes red with weeping, 
told them that the queen was dead. 

Great was the sorrow of the two children, for they had 
loved the queen very dearly, and life seemed dull without 
her. But the lady-in-waiting who took care of them in 
the tower which had been built for them while they were 

-IX "^» grsHS; ^ s ^ T g;;„ji'iVr,7 


still babies, was kind and good, and when the king was 
busy or away in other parts of his kingdom she made them 
quite happy, and saw that they were taught everything 
that a prince and princess ought to know. Thus two or 
three years passed, when, one day, as the children were 
anxiously awaiting their father's return from a distant city, 
there rode post haste into the courtyard of the palace a 
herald whom the king had sent before him, to say that he 
was bringing back a new wife. 

Now, in itself, there was nothing very strange or 
dreadful in the fact that the king should marry again, 
but, as the old lady-in-waiting soon guessed, the queen, in 
spite of her beauty, was a witch, and as it was easy to see 
that she was jealous of everyone who might gain power 
over her husband, it boded ill for Geirlaug and Gerthari. 
The faithful woman could not sleep for thinking about 
her charges, and her soul sank when, a few months after 
the marriage, war broke out with a country across the 
seas, and the king rode away at the head of his troops. 
Then there happened what she had so long expected. 
One night, when, unlike her usual habit, she was sleeping 
soundly — afterwards she felt sure that a drug had been 
put into her food — the witch came to the tower. Exactly 
what she did there no one knew, but, when the sun rose, 
the beds of Gerthari and Geirlaug were empty. At dawn 
the queen summoned some of her guards, and told them 
that she had been warned in a dream that some evil fate 
would befall her through a wild beast, and bade them go 
out and kill every animal within two miles of the palace. 
But the only beasts they found were two black foals of 
wondrous beauty, fitted for the king's riding; it seemed 
a pity to kill them, for what harm could two little foals do 
anyone? So they let them run away, frisking over the 
plain, and returned to the palace. 

'Did you see nothing, really nothing?' asked the queen, 
when they again appeared before her. 

'Nothing, your majesty,' they replied. But the queen 


did not believe them, and when they were gone, she gave 
orders to her steward that at supper the guards should be 
well plied with strong drink so that their tongues should 
be loosened, and, further, that he was to give heed to their 
babble, and report to her, whatever they might let fall. 

'Your majesty's commands have been obeyed,' said the 
steward when, late in the evening, he begged admittance 
to the royal apartments; 'but, after all, the men have told 
you the truth. I listened to their talk from beginning 
to end, and nothing did they see save two black foals.' He 
might have added more, but the look in the queen's bla- 
zing eyes terrified him, and, bowing hastily, he backed 
quickly out of her presence. 

In a week's time the king came home, and right glad 
were all the courtiers to see him. 

'Now, perhaps, she will find some one else to scream 
at,' whispered they amongst themselves. 'She' was the 
queen, who had vented her rage on her attendants 
during these days, though what had happened to make 
her so angry nobody knew. But whatever might be the 
meaning of it, things would be sure to improve with the 
king to rule in the palace instead of his wife. Unfortu- 
nately, their joy only lasted a short while; for the very 
first night after the king's arrival the queen related the 
evil dream she had dreamt in his absence, and begged 
him to go out the next morning and kill every living creature 
he saw within two miles of the city. The king, who always 
believed everything the queen said, promised to do as she 
wished. But before he had ridden through the lovely 
gardens that surrounded the palace, he was attracted 
by the singing of two little blue birds perched on a 
scarlet-berried holly, which made him think of every- 
thing beautiful that he had ever heard of or imagined. 
Hour after hour passed by, and still the birds sang, 
and still the king listened, though of course he never 
guessed that it was Geirlaug and Grethari whose 
notes filled him with enchantment. At length darkness 


fell; the birds' voices were hushed, and the king awoke with 
a start to find that for that day his promise to the queen 
could not be kept. 

'Well! did you see anything?' she asked eagerly, when 
the king entered her apartments. 

'Ah, my dear, I am almost ashamed to confess to 
you. But the fact is that before I rode as far as the western 
gate the singing of two strange little blue birds made me 
forget all else in the world. And you will hardly believe 
it — but not until it grew dark did I remember where 
I was and what I should have been doing. How- 
ever, to-morrow nothing shall hinder me from fulfilling 
your desires.' 

'There will be no to-morrow,' muttered the queen, as 
she turned away with a curious glitter in her eyes. But 
the king did not hear her. 

That night the king gave a great supper in the 
palace in honour of the victory he had gained over the 
enemy. The three men whom the queen had sent forth 
to slay the wild beasts held positions of trust in the house- 
hold, for to them was committed the custody of the 
queen's person. And on the occasion of a feast their 
places were always next that of the king, so it was 
easy for the queen to scatter a slow but fatal poison 
in their cups without anyone being the wiser. Before 
dawn the palace was roused by the news that the king 
was dead, and that the three officers of the guards were 
dying also. Of course nobody's cries and laments were 
as loud as those of the queen. But when once the 
splendid funeral was over, she gave out that she was go- 
ing to shut herself up in a distant castle till the year of 
her mourning was over, and after appointing a regent 
of the kingdom, she set out attended only by a maid who 
knew all her secrets. Once she had left the palace 
she quickly began to work her spells, to discover under 
what form Geirlaug and Grethari lay hidden. Happily, 
the princess had studied magic under a former governess, 



so was able to fathom her step-mother's wicked plot, and 
hastily changed herself into a whale, and her foster-brother 
into its fin. Then the queen took the shape of a shark and 
gave chase. 

For several hours a fierce battle raged between the 
whale and the shark, and the sea around was red with 
blood; first one of the combatants got the better, and then 
the other, but at length it became plain to the crowd of 
little fishes gathered round to watch, that the victory 
would be to the whale. And so it was. But when, after 
a mighty struggle, the shark floated dead and harmless 
on the surface of the water, the whale was so exhausted 
that she had only strength enough to drag her wounded 
body into a quiet little bay, and for three days she 
remained there as still and motionless as if she had been 
dead herself. At the end of the three days her wounds 
were healed, and she began to think what it was best to 

'Let us go back to your father's kingdom/ she said to 
Grethari, when they had both resumed their proper shapes, 
and were sitting on a high cliff above the sea. 

'How clever you are! I never should have thought 
of that!' answered Grethari, who, in truth, was not clever 
at all. But Geirlaug took a small box of white powder 
from her dress, and sprinkled some over him and 
some over herself, and, quicker than lightning, they 
found themselves in the palace grounds from which 
Grethari had been carried off by the dragon so many years 

'Now take up the band with the golden letters and 
bind it about your forehead,' said Geirlaug, 'and go 
boldly up to the castle. And, remember, however great 
may be your thirst, you must drink nothing till you have 
first spoken to your father. If you do, ill will befall us 

'Why should I be thirsty?' replied Grethari, staring 
at her in astonishment. ' It will not take me five minutes 


to reach the castle gate.' Geirlaug held her peace, but her 
eyes had in them a sad look. ' Good-bye,' she said at last, 
and she turned and kissed him. 

Grethari had spoken truly when he declared that he 
could easily get to the castle in five minutes. At least, 
no one would have dreamed that it could possibly take 
any longer. Yet, to his surprise, the door which stood 
so widely open that he could see the colour of the hang- 
ings within never appeared to grow any nearer, while each 
moment the sun burned more hotly, and his tongue was 
parched with thirst. 

'I don't understand! What can be the matter with 
me — and why haven't I reached the castle long ago ? he 
murmured to himself, as his knees began to knock under 
him with fatigue, and his head to swim. For a few more 
paces he staggered on blindly, when, suddenly, the sound 
of rushing water smote upon his ears; and in a little wood 
that bordered the path he beheld a stream falling over 
a rock. At this sight his promise to Geirlaug was forgotten. 
Fighting his way through the brambles that tore his 
clothes, he cast himself down beside the fountain, and seiz- 
ing the golden cup that hung from a tree, he drank a deep 

When he rose up the remembrance of Geirlaug and of 
his past life had vanished, and, instead, something stirred 
dimly within him at the vision of the white-haired man 
and woman who stood in the open door with outstretched 

'Grethari! Grethari! So you have come home at last,' 
cried they. 

For three hours Geirlaug waited in the spot where 
Grethari had left her, and then she began to under- 
stand what had happened. Her heart was heavy, but 
she soon made up her mind what to do, and pushing 
her way out of the wood, she skirted the high wall that 
enclosed the royal park and gardens, till she reached a 


small house where the forester lived with his two 

'Do you want a girl to sweep, and to milk the 
cows?' asked she, when one of the sisters answered her 

'Yes, we do, very badly; and as you look strong and clean, 
we will take you for a servant if you like to come,' replied 
the young woman. 

' But, first, what is your name ? ' 

'Lauphertha,' said Geirlaug quickly, for she did not 
wish anyone to know who she was; and following her 
new mistress into the house, she begged to be taught her 
work without delay. And so clever was she, that, by- 
and-by, it began to be noised abroad that the strange girl 
who had come to live in the forester's house had not her 
equal in the whole kingdom for skill as well as beauty. 
Thus the years slipped away, during which Geirlaug grew 
to be a woman. Now and then she caught glimpses of 
Grethari as he rode out to hunt in the forest, but when 
she saw him coming she hid herself behind the great trees, 
for her heart was still sore at his forgetfulness. One day, 
however, when she was gathering herbs, he came upon 
her suddenly, before she had time to escape, though as 
she had stained her face and hands brown, and covered 
her beautiful hair with a scarlet cap, he did not guess her 
to be his foster-sister. 

' What is your name, pretty maiden ? ' asked he. 

'Lauphertha,' answered the girl with a low curtesy. 

'Ah! it is you, then, of whom I have heard so much/ 
said he; 'you are too beautiful to spend your life serving 
the forester's daughters. Come with me to the palace, 
and my mother the queen will make you one of her ladies 
in waiting.' 

'Truly, that would be a great fortune,' replied the maiden. 
'And, if you really mean it, I will go with you. But how 
shall I know that you are not jesting?' 

'Give roe something to do for you, and I will do it, what- 


ever it is,' cried the young man eagerly. And she cast 
down her eyes, and answered: 

'Go to the stable, and bind the calf that is there so that 
it shall not break loose in the night and wander away, 
for the forester and his daughters have treated me well, 
and I would not leave them with aught of my work still 

So Grethari set out for the stable where the calf 
stood, and wound the rope about its horns. But when 
he had made it fast to the wall, he found that a coil of the 
rope had twisted itself round his wrist, and, pull as he 
might, he could not get free. All night he wriggled and 


struggled till he was half dead with fatigue. But when 
the sun rose the rope suddenly fell away from him, and, 
very angry with the maiden he dragged himself back to 
the palace. 'She is a witch,' he muttered crossly to him- 
self, ' and I will have no more to do with her.' And he 
flung himself on his bed and slept all day. 

Not long after this adventure the king and queen 
sent their beloved son on an embassy to a neighbouring 
country to seek a bride from amongst the seven princesses. 
The most beautiful of all was, of course, the one chosen, 
and the young pair took ship without delay for the 
kingdom of the prince's parents. The wind was fair and 
the vessel so swift that, in less time than could have been 
expected, the harbour nearest the castle was reached. 
A splendid carriage had been left in readiness close to 
the beach, but no horses were to be found, for every one 
had been carried off to take part in a great review which 
the king was to hold that day in honour of his son's mar- 

'I can't stay here all day,' said the princess, crossly, 
when Grethari told her of the plight they were in. 'I am 
perfectly worn out as it is, and you will have to find some- 
thing to draw the carriage, if it is only a donkey. If you 
don't, I will sail back straight to my father.' 

Poor Grethari was much troubled by the words of the 
princess. Not that he felt so very much in love with 
her, for during the voyage she had shown him several 
times how vain and bad tempered she was; but as a 
prince and a bridegroom, he could not, of course, bear to 
think that any slight had been put upon her. So he 
hastily bade his attendants to go in search of some animal, 
and bring it at once to the place at which they were wait- 

During the long pause the princess sat in the beautiful 
golden coach, her blue velvet mantle powdered with silver 
bees drawn closely round her, so that not even the tip of 
her nose could be seen. At length a girl appeared driving 


a young ox in front of her, followed by one of the prince's 
messengers, who was talking eagerly. 

'Will you lend me your ox, fair maiden?' asked Grethari, 
jumping up and going to meet them. 'You shall fix your 
own price, and it shall be paid ungrudgingly, for never 
before was king's son in such a plight.' 

' My price is seats for me and my two friends behind you 
and your bride at the wedding feast,' answered she. And 
to this Grethari joyfully consented. 

Six horses would not have drawn the coach at the speed 
of this one ox. Trees and fields flew by so fast that the 
bride became quite giddy, and expected, besides, that they 
would be upset every moment. But, in spite of her fears, 
nothing happened, and they drew up in safety at the door 
of the palace, to the great surprise of the king and queen. 
The marriage preparations were hurried on, and by the 
end of the week everything was ready. It was, perhaps, 
fortunate that the princess was too busy with her clothes 
and her jewels during this period to pay much heed to 
Grethari, so that by the time the wedding day came round 
he had almost forgotten how cross and rude she had been 
on the journey. 

The oldest men and women in the town agreed that 
nothing so splendid had ever been seen as the bridal 
procession to the great hall, where the banquet was to be 
held, before the ceremony was celebrated in the palace. 
The princess was in high good humour, feeling that all 
eyes were upon her, and bowed and smiled right and left. 
Taking the prince's hand, she sailed proudly down the 
room, where the guests were already assembled, to her 
place at the head of the table by the side of the bride- 
groom. As she did so, three strange ladies in shining 
dresses of blue, green, and red, glided in and seated 
themselves on a vacant bench immediately behind the young 
couple. The red lady was Geirlaug, who had brought 
with her the forester's daughters, and in one hand she held 
a wand of birch bark, and in the other a closed basket. 


Silently they sat as the feast proceeded; hardly any- 
one noticed their presence, or, if they did, supposed 
them to be attendants of their future queen. Suddenly, 
when the merriment was at its height, Geirlaug opened 
the basket, and out flew a cock and hen. To the 
astonishment of everyone, the birds circled about in front 
of the royal pair, the cock plucking the feathers out of 
the tail of the hen, who tried in vain to escape from him. 

'Will you treat me as badly as Grethari treated Geir- 
laug?' cried the hen at last. And Grethari heard, and 
started up wildly. In an instant all the past rushed back 
to him; the princess by his side was forgotten, and he only 
saw the face of the child with whom he had played long 
years ago. 

'Where is Geirlaug?' he exclaimed, looking round the 
hall; and his eyes fell upon the strange lady. With a smile 
she held out a ring which he had given her on her twelfth 
birthday, when they were still children, without a thought 
of the future. 'You and none other shall be my wife,' he 
said, taking her hand, and leading her into the middle of 
the company. 

It is not easy to describe the scene that followed. Of 
course, nobody understood what had occurred, and the 
king and queen imagined that their son had suddenly gone 
mad. As for the princess her rage and fury were beyond 
belief. The guests left the hall as quickly as they could, 
so that the royal family might arrange their own affairs, 
and in the end it was settled that half the kingdom must 
be given to the despised princess, instead of a husband. 
She sailed back at once to her country, where she was soon 
betrothed to a young noble, whom, in reality, she liked 
much better than Grethari. That evening Grethari was 
married to Geirlaug, and they lived happily till they died, 
and made all their people happy also. 

(From Neuisl&ndischen Vclksm&rchtn) 


Two or three miles from the coast of France, anyone 
sailing in a ship on a calm day can see deep, deep down, 
the trunks of great trees standing up in the water. 
Many hundreds of years ago these trees formed part of 
a large forest, full of all sorts of wild animals, and 
beyond the forest was a fine city, guarded by a castle in 
which dwelt the Dukes of Clarides. But little by little 
the sea drew nearer to the town; the foundations of the 
houses became undermined and fell in, and at length a 
shining sea flowed over the land. However, all this 
happened a long time after the story I am going to tell 

The Dukes of Clarides had always lived in the midst of 
their people, and protected them both in war and peace. 

At the period when this tale begins the Duke Robert 
was dead, leaving a young and beautiful duchess who 
ruled in his stead. Of course everyone expected her to 
marry again, but she refused all suitors who sought her 
hand, saying that, having only one soul she could have 
only one husband, and that her baby daughter was quite 
enough for her. 

One day, she was sitting in the tower, which looked 
out over a rocky heath, covered in summer with purple 
and yellow flowers, when she beheld a troop of horsemen 
riding towards the castle. In the midst, seated on a 
white horse with black and silver trappings, was a lady 
whom the duchess at once knew to be her friend the Countess 


of Blanchelande, a young widow like herself, mother of 
a little boy two years older than Abeille des Clarides. 
The duchess hailed her arrival with delight, but her joy 
was soon turned into weeping when the countess sank 
down beside her on a pile of cushions, and told the reason 
of her visit. 

'As you know,' she said, taking her friend's hand 
and pressing it between her own, 'whenever a Countess of 
Blanchelande is about to die she finds a white rose lying 
on her pillow. Last night I went to bed feeling unusually 
happy, but this morning when I woke the rose was 
resting against my cheek. I have no one to help me in 
the world but you, and I have come to ask if you 
will take Youri my son, and let him be a brother to 

Tears choked the voice of the duchess, but she flung 
herself on the countess's neck, and pressed her close. 
Silently the two women took leave of each other, and 
silently the doomed lady mounted her horse and rode 
home again. Then, giving her sleeping boy into the 
care of Francceur, her steward, she laid herself quietly on 
her bed, where, the next morning, they found her dead and 

So Youri and Abeille grew up side by side, and the 
duchess faithfully kept her promise, and was a mother to 
them both. As they got bigger she often took them 
with her on her journeys through her duchy, and 
taught them to know her people, and to pity and to aid 

It was on one of these journeys that, after passing 
through meadows covered with flowers, Youri caught sight 
of a great glittering expanse lying beneath some distant 

'What is that, godmother ?' he asked, waving his hand. 
'The shield of a giant, I suppose.' 

'No; a silver plate as big as the moon!' said Abeille, twist- 
ing herself round on her pony. 


'It is neither a silver plate nor a giant's shield/ replied 
the duchess; 'but a beautiful lake. Still, in spite of its 
beauty, it is dangerous to go near it, for in its depths dwell 
some Undines, or water spirits, who lure all passers-by to 
their deaths/ 

Nothing more was said about the lake, but the children 
did not forget it, and one morning, after they had returned 
to the castle, Abeille came up to Youri. 

'The tower door is open,' whispered she; 'let us go up. 
Perhaps we shall find some fairies.' 

But they did not find any fairies; only, when they reached 
the roof, the lake looked bluer and more enchanting than 
ever. Abeille gazed at it for a moment, and then she 

' Do you see ? I mean to go there ! ' 

'But you mustn't,' cried Youri. 'You heard what your 
mother said. And, besides, it is so far; how could we get 

' You ought to know that,' answered Abeille scornfully. 
'What is the good of being a man, and learning all sorts 
of things, if you have to ask me. However, there are plenty 
of other men in the world, and I shall get one of them to 
tell me.' 

Youri coloured; Abeille had never spoken like this 
before, and, instead of being two years younger than 
himself, she suddenly seemed many years older. She 
stood with her mocking eyes fixed on him, till he grew 
angry at being outdone by a girl, and taking her hand he 
said boldly: 

'Very well, we will both go to the lake.' 

The next afternoon, when the duchess was working 
at her tapestry surrounded by her maidens, the children 
went out, as usual, to play in the garden. The moment 
they found themselves alone, Youri turned to Abeille, and 
holding out his hand, said: 



'Come where?' asked Abeille, opening her eyes very 

'To the lake, of course/ answered the boy. 

Abeille was silent. It was one thing to pretend you 
meant to be disobedient some day, a long time off, and 
quite another to start for such a distant place without 
anyone knowing that you had left the garden. 'And 
in satin shoes, too! How stupid boys were to be 

• 'Stupid or not, I am going to the lake, and you are go- 
ing with me!' said Youri, who had not forgotten or for- 
given the look she had cast on him the day before. 'Un- 
less,' added he, 'you are afraid, and in that case I shall 
go alone.' 

This was too much for Abeille. Bursting into tears, she 
flung herself on Youri's neck, and declared that wherever 
he went she would go too. So, peace having been made 
between them, they set out. 

It was a hot day, and the townspeople were in- 
doors waiting till the sun was low in the sky before they 
set out either to work or play, so the children passed 
through the streets unperceived, and crossed the river 
by the bridge into the flowery meadows along the 
road by which they had ridden with the duchess. By- 
and-by Abeille began to feel thirsty, but the sun had drunk 
up all the water, and not a drop was left for her. 
They walked on a little further, and by good luck found 
a cherry-tree covered with ripe fruit, and after a rest and 
a refreshing meal, they were sure that they were strong 
enough to reach the lake in a few minutes. But soon 
Abeille began to limp and to say that her foot hurt her, 
and Youri had to untie the ribbons that fastened her shoe 
and see what was the matter. A stone had got in, so 
this was easily set right, and for a while they skipped along 
the path singing and chattering, till Abeille stopped 
again. This time her shoe had come off, and turning to 
pick it up she caught sight of the towers of the castle, looking 


such a long way off that her heart sank, and she burst into 

'It is getting dark, and the wolves will eat us,' sobbed 
she. But Youri put his arms round her and comforted 

'Why we are close to the lake now. There is nothing 
to be afraid of! We shall be home again to supper/ cried 
he. And Abeille dried her eyes, and trotted on beside 

Yes, the lake was there, blue and silvery with purple 
and gold irises growing on its banks, and white water- 
lilies floated on its bosom. Not a trace was there of a 
man, or of one of the great beasts so much feared by Abeille, 
but only the marks of tiny forked feet on the sand. The 
little girl at once pulled off her torn shoes and stockings 
and let the water flow over her, while Youri looked about 
for some nuts or strawberries. But none were to be 

'I noticed, a little way back, a clump of blackberry 
bushes,' said he. 'Wait here for me, and I will go and 
gather some fruit, and after that we will start home again.' 
And Abeille, leaning her head drowsily against a cushion 
of soft moss, murmured something in reply, and soon 
fell asleep. In her dream a crow, bearing the smallest 
man that ever was seen, appeared hovering for a moment 
above her, and then vanished. At the same instant Youri 
returned and placed by her side a large leaf-full of 

'It is a pity to wake her just yet,' thought he, and wan- 
dered off beyond a clump of silvery willows to a spot from 
which he could get a view of the whole lake. In the moon- 
light, the light mist that hung over the surface made it 
look like fairyland. Then gradually the silver veil seemed 
to break up, and the shapes of fair women with outstretched 
hands and long green locks floated towards him. Seized 
with a sudden fright, the boy turned to fly. But it was 
too late. 



Unconscious of the terrible doom that had befallen her 
foster-brother, Abeille slept on, and did not awake even 
when a crowd of little men with white beards down to their 
knees came and stood in a circle round her. 

'What shall we do with her?* asked Pic, who seemed 
older than any of them, though they were all very 

'Build a cage and put her into it,' answered Rug. 

'No! No! What should such a beautiful princess do 
in a cage?' cried Dig. And Tad, who was the kindest of 
them all, proposed to carry her home to her parents. But 
the other gnomes were too pleased with their new toy to 
listen to this for a moment. 

'Look, she is waking,' whispered Pau. And as he spoke 
Abeille slowly opened her eyes. At first she imagined she 
was still dreaming; but as the little men did not move, it 
suddenly dawned upon her that they were real, and starting 
to her feet, she called loudly: 

'Youri! Youri! Where are you?' 

At the sound of her voice the gnomes only pressed more 
closely round her, and, trembling with fear, she hid her 
face in her hands. The gnomes were at first much 
puzzled to know what to do; then Tad, climbing on a 
branch of the willow tree that hung over her, stooped 
down, and gently stroked her fingers. The child under- 
stood that he meant to be kind, and letting her hands 
fall, gazed at her captors. After an instant's pause she 

'Little men, it is a great pity that you are so ugly. But, 
all the same, I will love you if you will only give me some- 
thing to eat, as I am dying of hunger.' 

A rustle was heard among the group as she spoke. 
Some were very angry at being called ugly, and said she 
deserved no better fate than to be left where she was. 
Others laughed, and declared that it did not matter what 
a mere mortal thought about them; while Tad bade Bog, 
their messenger, fetch her some milk and honey, and the 


finest white bread that was made in their ovens under the 
earth. In less time than Abeille would have taken to tie 
her shoe he was back again, mounted on his crow. And 
by the time she had eaten the bread and honey and drunk 
the milk, Abeille was not frightened any more, and felt 
quite ready to talk. 

'Little men,' she said, looking up with a smile, 'your 
supper was very good, and I thank you for it. My name 
is Abeille, and my brother is called Youri. Help me to 
find him, and tell me which is the path that leads to the 
castle, for mother must think something dreadful has hap- 
pened to us!' 

'But your feet are so sore that you cannot walk,' answered 
Dig. 'And we may not cross the bounds into your country. 
The best we can do is to make a litter of twigs and cover it 
with moss, and we will bear you into the mountains, and 
present you to our king.' 

Now, many a little girl would have been terrified at 
the thought of being carried off alone, she did not know 
where. But Abeille, when she had recovered from her 
first fright, was pleased at the notion of her strange 

' How much she would have to tell her mother and Youri 
on her return. Probably they would never go inside a 
mountain, if they lived to be a hundred.' So she curled 
herself comfortably on her nest of moss, and waited to see 
what would happen. 

Up, and up, and up they went; and by-and-by Abeille 
fell asleep again, and did not wake till the sun was shining. 
Up, and up, and up, for the little men could only walk very 
slowly, though they could spring over rocks quicker than 
any mortal. Suddenly the light that streamed through the 
branches of the litter began to change. It seemed hardly 
less bright, but it was certainly different; then the litter 
was put down, and the gnomes crowded round and helped 
Abeille to step out of it. 

Before her stood a little man not half her size, but splen- 


didly dressed and full of dignity. On his head was a crown 
of such huge diamonds that you wondered how his small 
body could support it. A royal mantle fell from his shoul- 
ders, and in his hand he held a lance.. 

' King Loc/ said one of the forest gnomes, ' we found this 
beautiful child asleep by the lake, and have brought her to 
you. She says that her name is Abeille, and her mother 
is the Duchess des Clarides.' 

'You have done well,' answered the king; 'she shall be 
one of us.' And standing on tiptoe, so that he could kiss 
her hand, he told her that they would all take care of her 
and make her happy, and that anything she wished for she 
should have at once. 

'I want a pair of shoes,' replied Abeille. 

'Shoes!' commanded the king, striking the ground 
with his lance; and immediately a lovely pair of silver shoes 
embroidered with pearls were slipped on her feet by one of 
the gnomes. 

'They are beautiful shoes,' said Abeille rather doubt- 
fully; 'but do you think they will carry me all the way back 
to my mother ? ' 

'No, they are not meant for rough roads/ replied the 
king,' but for walking about the smooth paths of the moun- 
tain, for we have many wonders to show you.' 

'Little King Loc,' answered Abeille, 'take away these 
beautiful slippers and give me a pair of wooden shoes in- 
stead, and let me go back to my mother.' But King Loc 
only shook his head. 

'Little King Loc,' said Abeille again — and this time her 
voice trembled — 'let me go back to my mother and Youri, 
and I will love you with all my heart, nearly as well as I love 

'Who is Youri?' asked King Loc. 

'Why — Youri — who has lived with us since I was a 
baby,' replied Abeille; surprised that he did not know what 
everyone else was aware of, and never guessing ' ,- iat by 
mentioning the boy she was sealing her own fate. For 


King Loc had already thought what a good wife she would 
make him in a few years' time, and he did not want Youri to 
come between them. So he was silent, and Abeille, seeing 
he was not pleased, burst into tears. 

'Little King Loc,' she cried, taking hold of a corner of 
his mantle, ' think how unhappy my mother will be. She 
will fancy that wild beasts have eaten me, or that I have 
got drowned in the lake.' 

'Be comforted,' replied King Loc; 'I will send her a 
dream, so that she shall know that you are safe.' 

At this Abeille's sad face brightened. 'Little King Loc,' 
she said, smiling, 'how clever you are! But you must send 
her a dream every night, so that she shall see me — and me 
a dream, so that I may see her.' 

And this King Loc promised to do. 

When Abeille grew accustomed to do without her mother 
and Youri, she made herself happy enough in her new 
home. Everyone was kind to her, and petted her, and 
then there were such quantities of new things for her 
to see. The gnomes were always busy, and knew how 
to fashion beautiful toys as well or better than the people 
who lived on the earth; and now and then, wandering 
with Tad or Dig in the underground passages, Abeille would 
catch a glimpse of blue sky through a rent in the rocks, and 
this she loved best of all. In this manner six years passed 

' His Highness King Loc wishes to see you in his presence 
chamber/ said Tad, one morning, to Abeille, who was 
singing to herself on a golden lute; and Abeille, wonder- 
ing why the king had grown so formal all of a sudden, got 
up obediently. Directly she appeared, King Loc opened 
a door in the wall which led into his treasure chamber. 
Abeille had never been there before, and was amazed at 
the splendid things heaped up before her. Gold, jewels, 
brocades, carpets, lay round the walls, and she walked 
about examining one glittering object after another, while 
King Loc mounted a throne of gold and ivory at one end 


of the hall, and watched her. 'Choose whatever you wish,' 
he said at last. A necklace of most lovely pearls was 
hanging from the wall, and after hesitating for a moment 
between that and a circlet of diamonds and sapphires, 
Abeille stretched up her hand towards it. But before she 
touched it her eyes lighted on a tiny piece of sky visible 
through a crack of the rock, and her hand dropped by her 
side. 'Little King Loc, let me go up to the earth once 
again,' she said. 

Then King Loc made a sign to the treasurer, who 
opened a coffer full of nothing but precious stones, larger 
and more dazzling than were worn by any earthly 
monarch. 'Choose what you will, Abeille,' whispered King 

But Abeille onlv shook her head. 

'A drop of dew in the garden at Clarides is brighter to 
me than the best of those diamonds,' she answered, 'and 
the bluest of the stones are not as blue as the eyes of Youri.' 
And as she spoke a sharp pain ran through the heart of 
King Loc. For an instant he said nothing, then he lifted 
his head and looked at her. 'Only those who despise 
riches should possess them. Take this crown, from hence- 
forth you are the Princess' of the Gnomes.' 

During thirty days no work was done in those under- 
ground regions, for a feast was held in honour of the new 
princess. At the end of that period, the king appeared 
before Abeille, clad in his most splendid garments, and 
solemnly asked her to be his wife. 

'Little King Loc,' answered the girl, 'I love you as you 
are, for your goodness and kindness to me; but never, never 
can I love you as anything else.' N 

The king sighed. It was only what he had expected; 
still, his disappointment was great, though he tried bravely 
to hide it, and even to smile as he said: 'Then, Abeille, will 
you promise mc one thing? If there should come a day 
when you find that there is somebody whom you could love, 
will vou tell me ? ' 


And in her turn Abeille promised. 

After this, in spite of the fact that everyone was just 
as kind to her as before, Abeille was no longer the merry 
child who passed all her days playing with the little 
gnomes. People who dwell under the earth grow up 
much faster than those who live on its surface, and, at 
thirteen, the girl was already a woman. Besides, King 
Loc's words had set her thinking; she spent many hours 
by herself, and her face was no longer round and rosy, 
but thin and pale. It was in vain that the gnomes did 
their best to entice her into her old games, they had lost 
their interest, and even her lute lay unnoticed on the 

But one morning a change seemed to come over her. 
Leaving the room hung with beautiful silks, where she 
usually sat alone, she entered the king's presence, and 
taking his hand she led him through long corridors till 
they came to a place where a strip of blue sky was to be 

'Little King Loc,' she said, turning her eyes upon 
him, 'let me behold my mother again, or I shall surely 
die.' Her voice shook, and her whole body trembled. 
Even an enemy might have pitied her; but the king, who 
loved her, answered nothing. All day long Abeille stayed 
there, watching the light fade, and the sky grow pale. 
By-and-by the stars came out, but the girl never moved 
from her place. Suddenly a hand touched her. She 
looked round with a start, and there was King Loc, covered 
from head to foot in a dark mantle, holding another over 
his arm. 'Put on this and follow me,' was all he said. 
But Abeille somehow knew that she was going to see her 

On, and on, and on they went, through passages where 
Abeille had never been before, and at length she was out 
in the world again. Oh! how beautiful it all was! How 
fresh was the air, and how sweet was the smell of the 
flowers! She felt as if she should die with joy, but at 


that moment King Loc lifted her off the ground, and, 
tiny though he was, carried her quite easily across 
the garden and through an open door into the silent 

'Listen, AbeiUe,' he whispered softly. 'You have 
guessed where we are going, and you know that every 
night I send your mother a vision of you, and she talks 
to it in her dream, and smiles at it. To-night it will be 
no vision she sees, but you yourself; only remember, that 
if you touch her or speak to her my power is lost, 
and never more will she behold either you or your 

By this time they had reached the room which Abeille 
knew so well, and her heart beat violently as the gnome 
carried her over the threshold. By the light of a lamp 
hanging over the bed Abeille could see her mother, 
beautiful still, but with a face that had grown pale and 
sad. As she gazed the sadness vanished, and a bright 
smile came in its stead. Her mother's arms were stretched 
out towards her, and the girl, her eyes filled with tears 
of joy, was stooping to meet them, when King Loc hastily 
snatched her up, and bore her back to the realm of the 

If the king imagined that by granting Abeille's 
request he would make her happy, he soon found out 
his mistake, for all day long the girl sat weeping, 
paying no heed to the efforts of her friends to comfort 

'Tell me what is making you so unhappy?' said King 
Loc, at last. And Abeille answered: 

'Little King Loc, and all my friends here, you are so 
good and kind that I know that you are miserable when 
I am in trouble. I would be happy if I could, but it is 
stronger , than I. I am weeping because I shall never 
see again Youri de Blanchelande, whom I love with all 
my heart. It is a worse grief than parting with my 
mother, for at least I know where she is and what she 


is doing; while, as for Youri, I cannot tell if he is dead or 

The gnomes were all silent. Kind as they were, they 
were not mortals, and had never felt either great joys or 
deep sorrows. Only King Loc dimly guessed at some- 
thing of both, and he went away to consult an old, old 
gnome, who lived in the lowest depth of the mountain, 
and had spectacles of every sort, that enabled him to see 
all that was happening, not only on the earth, but under 
the sea. 

Nur, for such was his name, tried many of these 
spectacles before he could discover anything about Youri 
de Blanchelande. 

* There he is!' he cried at last. 'He is sitting in the 
palace of the Undines, under the great lake; but he does 
not like his prison, and longs to be back in the world, doing 
great deeds.' 

It was true. In the seven years that had passed 
since he had left the castle of Clarides to go with 
Abeille to the blue lake, Youri in his turn had become a 

The older he grew the more weary he got of the petting 
and spoiling he received at the hands of the green-haired 
maidens, till, one day, he flung himself at the feet of the 
Undine queen, and implored permission to return to his 
old home. 

The queen stooped down and stroked his hair. 

'We cannot spare you,' she murmured gently. 'Stay 
here, and you shall be king, and marry me.' 

'But it is Abeille I want to marry,' said the youth boldly. 
But he might as well have talked to the winds, for at 
last the queen grew angry, and ordered him to be put 
in a crystal cage which was built for him round a 
pointed rock. 

It was here that King Loc, aided by the spectacles of 
Nur, found him after many weeks' journey. As we know, 
the gnomes walk slowly, and the way was long and difficult. 


Luckily, before he started, he had taken with him his magic 
ring, and the moment it touched the wall the crystal cage 
split from top to bottom. 

'Follow that path, and you will find yourself in the 
world again,' he said to Youri; and without waiting to 
listen to the young man's thanks, set out on the road he 
had come. 

'Bog/ he cried, to the little man on the crow, who had 
ridden to meet him. ' Hasten to the palace and inform the 
Princess Abeille that Youri de Blanchelande, for seven 
years a captive in the kingdom of the Undines, has now 
returned to the castle of Clandes.' 

The first person whom Youri met as he came out of 
the mountain was the tailor who had made all his clothes 
from the time that he came to live at the castle. Of this 
old friend, who was nearly beside himself with joy at 
the sight of the little master, lost for so many years, 
the count begged for news of his foster-mother and 

'Alas! my lord, where can you have been that you do 
not know that the Princess Abeille was carried off by the 
gnomes on the very day that you disappeared yourself? 
At least, so we guess. Ah! that day has left many a 
mark on our duchess! Yet she is not without a gleam of 
hope that her daughter is living yet, for every night the 
poor mother is visited by a dream which tells her all that 
the princess is doing.' 

The good man went on to tell of all the changes that 
seven years had brought about in the village, but Youri 
heard nothing that he said, for his mind was busy with 
thoughts of Abeille. 

At length he roused himself, and ashamed of his 
delay, he hastened to the chamber of the duchess, who 
held him in her arms as if she would never let him go. 
By-and-by, however, when she became calmer, he began 
to question her about Abeille, and how best to deliver 



her from the power of the gnomes. The duchess then 
told him that she had sent out men in all directions to 
look for the children directly they were found to be 
missing, and that one of them had noticed a troop of little 
men far away on the mountains, evidently carrying a 
litter. He was hastening after them, when, at his feet, 
he beheld a tiny satin slipper, which he stooped to pick 
up. But as he did so a dozen of the gnomes had 
swarmed upon him like flies, and beat him about the 
head till he dropped the slipper, which they took away 
with them, leaving the poor man dizzy with pain. When 
he recovered his senses the group on the mountain had dis- 

That night, when everyone was asleep, Youri and his 
old servant Francceur, stole softly down into the armoury, 
and dressed themselves in light suits of chain armour, with 
helmets and short swords, all complete. Then they mounted 
two horses that Francceur had tied up in the forest, and 
set forth for the kingdom of the gnomes. At the end of an 
hour's hard riding, they came to the cavern which Fran- 
cceur had heard from childhood led into the centre of the 
earth. Here they dismounted, and entered cautiously, ex- 
pecting to find darkness as thick as what they had left out- 
side. But they had only gone a few steps when they were 
nearly blinded by a sudden blaze of light, which seemed 
to proceed from a sort of portcullis door, which barred the 
way in front of them. 

'Who are you?' asked a voice. And the count 

'Youri de Blanchelande, who has come to rescue Abeille 
des Clandes.' And at these words the gate slowly swung 
open, and closed behind the two strangers. 

Youri listened to the clang with a spasm of fear in 
his heart; then the desperate position he was in gave him 
courage. There was no retreat for him now, and in 
front was drawn up a large force of gnomes, whose 


arrows were falling like hail about him. He raised his 
shield to ward them off, and as he did so his eyes fell on 
a little man standing on a rock above the rest, with a crown 
on his head and a royal mantle on his shoulders. In 
an instant Youri had flung away his shield and sprung 




vU 'i^^jjU 





^§hK°-c h 

EmS t 


~^r^J* ]M 


forward, regardless of the arrows that still fell about 

'Oh, is it you, is it really you, my deliverer? And is 
it your subjects who hold as a captive Abeille whom I 

'I am King Loc,' was the answer. And the figure with 


the long beard bent his eyes kindly on the eager youth. 
'If Abeille has lived with us all these years, for many of 
them she was quite happy. But the gnomes, of whom you 
think so little, are a just people, and they will not keep her 
against her will. Beg the princess to be good enough to 
come hither,' he added, turning to Rug. 

Amidst a dead silence Abeille entered the vast space and 
looked around her. At first she saw nothing but a vast 
host of gnomes perched on the walls and crowding on the 
floor of the big hall. Then her eyes met those of Youri, 
and with a cry that came from her heart she darted towards 
him, and threw herself on his breast. 

'Abeille,' said the king, when he had watched her for a 
moment, with a look of pain on his face, 'is this the man 
that you wish to marry?' 

'Yes, Little King Loc, this is he and nobody else! And 
see how I can laugh now, and how happy I am ! ' And with 
that she began to cry. 

'Hush, Abeille! there must be no tears to-day,' said 
Youri, gently stroking her hair. 'Come, dry your eyes, 
and thank King Loc, who rescued me from the cage in the 
realm of the Undines.' 

As Youri spoke Abeille lifted her head, and a great light 
came into her face. At last she understood. 

'You did that for me ?' she whispered. 'Ah, Little King 
Loc !' 

So, loaded with presents, and followed by regrets, 
Abeille went home. In a few days the marriage took 
place; but however happy she was, and however busy 
she might be, never a month passed by without a visit 
from Abeille to her friends in the kingdom of the 

(Adapted and shortened from the story of Abeille, by M. Anatole France.) 


One day a bunniah, 1 or banker, was walking along a 
country road when he overtook a farmer going in the 
same direction. Now the bunniah was very grasping, 
like most of his class, and was lamenting that he had had 
no chance of making any money that day; but at 
the sight of the man in front he brightened up wonder- 

'That is a piece of luck,' he said to himself. 'Let me see 
if this farmer is not good for something'; and he hastened 
his steps. 

After they had bid one another good day very politely, 
the bunniah said to the farmer: 

'I was just thinking how dull I felt, when I beheld you, 
but since we are going the same way, I shall find the road 
quite short in such agreeable company.' 

'With all my heart/ replied the farmer; 'but what shall 
we talk about? A city man like you will not care to hear 
about cattle and crops.' 

'Oh,' said the bunniah, 'I'll tell you what we will do. 
We will each tell the other the wildest tale we can imagine, 
and he who first throws doubt on the other's story shall 
pay him a hundred rupees.' 

To this the farmer agreed, and begged the bunniah to 
begin, as he was the bigger man of the two; and privately 
he made up his mind that, however improbable it might 
be, nothing should induce him to hint that he did not believe 

1 Grain merchant and banker, and generally a very greedy man. 


in the bunniah's tale. Thus politely pressed the great man 

' 1 was going along this road one day, when I met a mer- 
chant travelling with a great train of camels laden with 
merchandise ' 

'Very likely,' murmured the farmer; 'I've seen that kind 
of thing myself.' 

'No less than one hundred and one camels,' continued 
the bunniah, 'all tied together by their nose strings — nose 
to tail — and stretching along the road for almost half a 
mile ' 

'Well?' said the farmer. 

'Well, a kite swooped down on the foremost camel and 
bore him off, struggling, into the air, and by reason of 
them all being tied together the other hundred camels had 
to follow ' 

'Amazing, the strength of that kite!' said the farmer. 
' But — well — yes, doubtless; yes — well — one hundred 
and one camels — and what did he do with them ? ' 

' You doubt it ? ' demanded the bunniah. 

'Not a bit!' said the farmer heartily. 

'Well,' continued the bunniah, 'it happened that the 
princess of a neighbouring kingdom was sitting in her 
private garden, having her hair combed by her maid, and 
she was looking upward, with her head thrown back, 
whilst the maid tugged away at the comb, when that 
wretched kite, with its prey, went soaring overhead; and, 
as luck would have it, the camels gave an extra kick 
just then, the kite lost his hold, and the whole hundred 
and one camels dropped right into the princess's left 

'Poor thing!' said the farmer; 'it's so painful having any- 
thing in one's eye.' 

'Well,' said the bunniah, who was now warming to his 
task, 'the princess shook her head, and sprang up, clapping 
her hand on her eye. "Oh dear!" she cried, "I've got 
something in my eye, and how it does smart!"' 



'It always does,' observed the farmer, 'perfectly true. 
Well, what did the poor thing do?' 

'At the sound of her cries, the maid came running to 
her assistance. "Let me look," said she; and with that 
she gave the princess's eyelid a twitch, and out came a 
camel, which the maid put in her pocket — ' ('Ah!' 
grunted the farmer) — 'and then she just twisted up the 
corner of her headcloth and fished a hundred more of them 
out of the princess's eye, and popped them all into her 
pocket with the other.' 

Here the bunniah gasped as one who is out of breath, but 
the farmer looked at him slowly. 'Well?' said he. 

'I can't think of anything more now,' replied the 
bunniah. 'Besides, that is the end; what do you say to 

'Wonderful,' replied the farmer, 'and no doubt perfectly 

'Well, it is your turn,' said the bunniah. 'I am so 
anxious to hear your story. I am sure it will be very in- 

'Yes, I think it will,' answered the farmer, and he be- 

'My father was a very prosperous man. Five cows he 
had, and three yoke of oxen, and half a dozen buffaloes, 
and goats in abundance; but of all his possessions the thing 
he loved best was a mare. A well bred mare she was — 
oh, a very fine mare!' 

'Yes, yes,' interrupted the bunniah, 'get on!' 

'I'm getting on,' said the farmer, 'don't you hurry me! 
Well, one day, as ill-luck would have it, he rode that mare 
to market with a torn saddle, which galled her so, that 
when they got home she had a sore on her back as big as 
the palm of your hand.' 

'Yes,' said the bunniah impatiently, 'what next?' 

'It was June,' said the farmer, 'and you know how, in 
June, the air is full of dust-storms with rain at times? 
Well, the poor beast got dust in that wound, and what's 

itEjjtififliUK's StOKj/ 


more, with the dust some grains of wheat, and, what with 
the dust and the heat and the wet, that wheat sprouted and 
began to grow!' 

'Wheat does when it gets a fair chance,' said the 

'Yes; and the next thing we knew was that there was 
a crop of wheat on that horse's back as big as anything you 
ever saw in a hundred-acre field, and we had to hire twenty 
men to reap it!' 

'One generally has to hire extra hands for reaping,' said 
the bunniah. 

'And we got four hundred maunds of wheat off that 
mare's back!' continued the farmer. 

'A good crop!' murmured the bunniah. 

'And your father,' said the farmer, 'a poor wretch, 
with hardly enough to keep body and soul together — (the 
bunniah snorted, but was silent) — came to my father, and 
he said, putting his hands together as humble as could 
be ' 

The bunniah here flashed a furious glance at his com- 
panion, but bit his lips and held his peace. 

'"I haven't tasted food for a week. Oh! great master, 
let me have the loan of sixteen maunds of wheat from your 
store, and I will repay you."' 

'"Certainly, neighbour," answered my father; "take 
what you need, and repay it as you can."' 

'Well?' demanded the bunniah with fury in his 

'Well, he took the wheat away with him,' replied the 
farmer; 'but he never repaid it, and it's a debt to this day. 
Sometimes I wonder whether I shall not go to law about 

Then the bunniah began running his thumb quickly up 
and down the fingers of his right hand, and his lips moved 
in quick calculation. 

' What is the matter ? ' asked the farmer. 

'The wheat is the cheaper; I'll pay you for the wheat,' 


said the bunniah, with the calmness of despair, as he remem- 
bered that by his own arrangement he was bound to give 
the farmer a hundred rupees. 

And to this day they say in those parts, when a man owes 
a debt: 'Give me the money; or, if not that, give me at 
least the wheat.' 

(This is from oral tradition.) 


One hot night, in Hindustan, a king and queen lay awake 
in the palace in the midst of the city. Every now and then 
a faint air blew through the lattice, and they hoped they 
were going to sleep, but they never did. Presently they 
became more broad awake than ever at the sound of a howl 
outside the palace. 

'Listen to that tiger!' remarked the king. 

'Tiger?' replied the queen. 'How should there be a 
tiger inside the city? It was only a jackal.' 

'I tell you it was a tiger/ said the king. 

'And I tell you that you were dreaming if you thought 
it was anything but a jackal,' answered the queen. 

'I say it was a tiger,' cried the king; 'don't contradict 

'Nonsense!' snapped the queen. 'It was a jackal.' 
And the dispute waxed so warm that the king said at 

'Very well, we'll call the guard and ask; and if it was 
a jackal I'll leave this kingdom to you and go away; and 
if it was a tiger then you shall go, and I will marry a new 

'As you like,' answered the queen, 'there isn't any doubt 
which it was.' 

So the king called the two soldiers who were on guard 
outside and put the question to them. But, whilst the 
dispute was going on, the king and queen had got so excited 
and talked so loud that the guards had heard nearly all 
they said, and one man observed to the other: 


'Mind you declare that the king is right. It certainly 
was a jackal, but, if we say so, the king will probably not 
keep his word about going away, and we shall get into 
trouble, so we had better take his side.' 

To this the other agreed;- therefore, when the king asked 
them what animal they had seen, both the guards said 
it was certainly a tiger, and that the king was right of 
course, as he always was. The king made no remark, 
but sent for a palanquin, and ordered the queen to be 
placed in it, bidding the four bearers of the palanquin 
to take her a long way off into the forest and there leave 
her. In spite of her tears, she was forced to obey, and 
away the bearers went for three days and three nights 
until they came to a dense wood. There they set down 
the palanquin with the queen in it, and started home 

Now the queen thought to herself that the king could 
not mean to send her away for good, and that as soon as 
he had got over his fit of temper he would summon her 
back; so she stayed quite still for a long time, listening 
with all her ears for approaching footsteps, but heard 
none. After a while she grew nervous, for she was all 
alone, and put her head out of the palanquin and looked 
about her. Day was just breaking, and birds and insects 
were beginning to stir; the leaves rustled in a warm breeze; 
but, although the queen's eyes wandered in all directions, 
there was no sign of any human being. Then her spirit 
gave way, and she began to cry. 

It so happened that close to the spot where the queen's 
palanquin had been set down, there dwelt a man who 
had a tiny farm in the midst of the forest, where he and 
his wife lived alone far from any neighbours. As it was 
hot weather the farmer had been sleeping on the flat roof 
of his house, but was awakened by the sound of weeping. 
He jumped up and ran downstairs as fast as he could, and 
into the forest towards the place the sound came from, and 
there he found the palanquin. 



'Oh, poor soul that weeps,' cried the farmer, standing 
a little way off, 'who are you?' At this salutation from 
a stranger the queen grew silent, dreading she knew not 

'Oh, you that weep,' repeated the farmer, 'fear not to me, for you are to me as a daughter. Tell me, 
who are you ? ' 


His voice was so kind that the queen gathered up her 
courage and spoke. And when she had told her story, the 
farmer called his wife, who led her to their house, and gave 
her food to eat, and a bed to lie on. And in the farm, a 
few days later, a little prince was born, and by his mother's 
wish named Ameer Ali. 

Years passed without a sign from the king. His wife 
might have been dead for all he seemed to care, though 
the queen still lived with the farmer, and the little prince 
had by this time grown up into a strong, handsome, and 
healthy youth. Out in the forest they seemed far from 
the world; very few ever came near them, and the prince 
was continually begging his mother and the farmer to be 
allowed to go away and seek adventures and to make his 
own living. But she and the wise farmer always counselled 
him to wait, until, at last, when he was eighteen years of 
age, they had not the heart to forbid him any longer. So 
he started off one early morning, with a sword by his side, 
a big brass pot to hold water, a few pieces of silver, and a 
galail 1 or two-stringed bow in his hand, with which to 
shoot birds as he travelled. 

Many a weary mile he tramped day after day, until, 
one morning, he saw before him just such a forest as that 
in which he had been born and bred, and he stepped joy- 
fully into it, like one who goes to meet an old friend. Pres- 
ently, as he made his way through a thicket, he saw a pigeon 
which he thought would make a good dinner, so he fired 
a pellet at it from his galail, but missed the pigeon which 
fluttered away with a startled clatter. At the same instant 
he heard a great clamour from beyond the thicket, and, 
on reaching the spot, he found an ugly old woman stream- 
ing wet and crying loudly as she lifted from her head an 
earthen vessel with a hole in it from which the water was 
pouring. When she saw the prince with his galail in his 
hand, she called out : 

*A galail is a double-stringed bow from which bullets or pellets 
of hard dried clay can be fired with considerable force and precision ♦ 



'Oh, wretched one! why must you choose an old woman 
like me to play your pranks upon? Where am I to get a 
fresh pitcher instead of this one that you have broken with 
your foolish tricks? And how am I to go so far for water 
twice when one journey wearies me ? ' 

'But, mother,' replied the prince, 'I played no trick 
upon you! I did but shoot at a pigeon that should have 
served me for dinner, and as my pellet missed it, it must 
have broken your pitcher. But, in exchange, you shall 
have my brass pot, and that will not break easily; and as 
for getting water, tell me where to find it, and I'll fetch 


it while you dry your garments in the sun, and carry it 
whither you will.' 

At this the old woman's face brightened. She showed 
him where to seek the water, and when he returned a 
few minutes later with his pot filled to the brim, she led 
the way without a word, and he followed. In a short 
while they came to a hut in the forest, and as they drew 
near it Ameer Ali beheld in the doorway the loveliest 
damsel his eyes had ever looked on. At the sight of a 
stranger she drew her veil about her and stepped into the 
hut, and much as he wished to see her again Ameer Ali 
could think of no excuse by which to bring her back, and 
so, with a heavy heart, he made his salutation, and bade 
the old woman farewell. But when he had gone a little 
way she called after him: 

' If ever you are in trouble or danger, come to where you 
now stand and cry: "Fairy of the Forest! Fairy of the 
forest, help me now!" And I will listen to you.' 

The prince thanked her and continued his journey, 
but he thought little of the old woman's saying, and much 
of the lovely damsel. Shortly afterwards he arrived at a 
city; and, as he was now in great straits, having come to 
the end of his money, he walked straight to the palace of 
the king and asked for employment. The king said he 
had plenty of servants and wanted no more; but the young 
man pleaded so hard that at last the rajah was sorry for 
him, and promised that he should enter his bodyguard 
on the condition that he would undertake any service which 
was especially difficult or dangerous. This was just what 
Ameer Ali wanted, and he agreed to do whatever the king 
might wish. 

Soon after this, on a dark and stormy night, when the 
river roared beneath the palace walls, the sound of a woman 
weeping and wailing was heard above the storm. The 
king ordered a servant to go and see what was the matter; 
but the servant, falling on his knees in terror, begged that 
he might not be sent on such an errand, particularly on a 


night so wild, when evil spirits and witches were sure to be 
abroad. Indeed, so frightened was he, that the king, who 
was very kind-hearted, bade another to go in his stead, 
but each one showed the same strange fear. Then Ameer 
Ali stepped forward: 

'This is my duty, your majesty,' he said, 'I will go.' 

The king nodded, and off he went. The night was as 
dark as pitch, and the wind blew furiously and drove the 
rain in sheets into his face; but he made his way down 
to the ford under the palace walls arid stepped into the 
flooded water. Inch by inch, and foot by foot he fought 
his way across, now nearly swept off his feet by some sudden 
swirl or eddy, now narrowly escaping being caught in the 
branches of some floating tree that came tossing and swing- 
ing down the stream. At length he emerged, panting and 
dripping wet, on the other side. Close by the bank stood 
a gallows, and on the gallows hung the body of some evil- 
doer, whilst from the foot of it came the sound of sobbing 
that the king had heard. 

Ameer Ali was so grieved for the one who wept there 
that he thought nothing of the wildness of the night or of 
the roaring river. As for ghosts and witches, they had 
never troubled him, so he walked up towards the gallows 
where crouched the figure of the woman. 

' What ails you?' he said. 

Now the woman was not really a woman at all, but a 
horrid kind of witch who really lived in Witchland, and 
had no business on earth. If ever a man strayed into 
Witchland the ogresses used to eat him up, and this old 
witch thought she would like to catch a man for supper, 
and that is why she had been sobbing and crying in hopes 
that someone out of pity might come to her rescue. 

So when Ameer Ali questioned her, she replied: 

'Ah, kind sir, it is my poor son who hangs upon that 
gallows; help me to get him down and I will bless you for 

Ameer Ali thought that her voice sounded rather 


eager than sorrowful, and he suspected that she was 

not telling the truth, so he determined to be very 


'That will be rather difficult,' he said, 'for the gallows 
is high, and we have no ladder.' 

'Ah, but if you will just stoop down and let me climb 
upon your shoulders,' answered the old witch, 'I think 


I could reach him.' And her voice now sounded so cruel 
that Ameer Ali was sure that she intended some evil. But 
he only said: 

'Very well, we will try.' With that he drew his sword, 
pretending that he needed it to lean upon, and bent so that 
the old woman could clamber on to his back, which she 
did very nimbly. Then, suddenly, he felt a noose slipped 
over his neck, and the old witch sprang from his shoulders 
on to the gallows, crying: 

'Now, foolish one, I have got you, and will kill you for 
my supper.' 

But Ameer Ali gave a sweep upwards with his sharp 
sword to cut the rope that she had slipped round his neck, 
and not only cut the cord but cut also the old woman's foot 
as it dangled above him; and with a yell of pain and anger 
she vanished into the darkness. 

Ameer Ali then sat down to collect himself a little, 
and felt upon the ground by his side an anklet that had 
evidently fallen off the old witch's foot. This he put into 
his pocket, and as the storm had by this time passed over 
he made his way back to the palace. When he had finished 
his story, he took the anklet out of his pocket and handed 
it to the king, who, like everyone else, was amazed at 
the glory of the jewels which composed it. Indeed, 
Ameer Ali himself was astonished, for he had slipped 
the anklet into his pocket in the dark and had not 
looked at it since. The king was delighted at its 
beauty, and having praised and rewarded Ameer Ali, 
he gave the anklet to his daughter, a proud and spoiled 

Now in the women's apartments in the palace there 
hung two cages, in one of which was a parrot and in the 
other a starling, and these two birds could talk as 
well as human beings. They were both pets of the 
princess who always fed them herself, and the next day, 
as she was walking grandly about with her treasure VveA. 


round her ankle, she heard the starling say to the 

'Oh, Tot6' (that was the parrot's name), 'how do you 
think the princess looks in her new jewel ? ' 

'Think?' snapped the parrot, who was cross because 
they hadn't given him his bath that morning, 'I think 
she looks like a washerwoman's daughter, with one shoe 
on and the other off! Why doesn't she wear two of them, 
instead of going about with one leg adorned and the other 
empty ? ' 

When the princess heard this she burst into tears; and 
sending for her father she declared that he must get her 
another such an anklet to wear on the other leg, or she 
would die of shame. So the king sent for Ameer Ali and 
told him that he must get a second anklet exactly like the 
first within a month, or he should be hanged, for the princess 
would certainly die of disappointment. 

Poor Ameer Ali was greatly troubled at the king's com- 
mand, but he thought to himself that he had, at any rate, 
a month in which to lay his plans. He left the palace 
at once, and inquired of everyone where the finest jewels 
were to be got; but though he sought night and day he 
never found one to compare with the anklet. At last 
only a week remained, and he was in sore difficulty, when 
he remembered the Fairy of the forest, and determined 
to go without loss of time and seek her. Therefore away 
he went, and after a day's travelling he reached the cottage 
in the forest, and, standing where he had stood when the 
old woman called to him, he cried: 

'Fairy of the forest! Fairy of the forest! Help me! 
help me!' 

Then there appeared in the doorway the beautiful girl he 
had seen before, whom in all his wanderings he had never 

'What is the matter?' she asked, in a voice so soft that 
he listened like one struck dumb, and she had to 
repeat the question before he could answer. Then he 


told her his story, and she went within the cottage and 
came back with two wands, and a pot of boiling water. 
The two wands she planted in the ground about^six feet 
apart, and then, turning to him, she said: 

'I am going to lie down between these two wands. 
You must then draw your sword and cut off my foot, 
and, as soon as you have done that, you must seize it and 
hold it over the cauldron, and every drop of blood that 
falls from it into the water will become a jewel. Next 
you must change the wands so that the one that stood at 
my head is at my feet, and the one at my feet stands at 
my head, and place the severed foot against the wound 
and it will heal, and I shall become quite well again as 
before. ' 

At first Ameer Ali declared that he would sooner be 
hanged twenty times over than treat her so roughly; but 
at length she persuaded him to do her bidding. He nearly 
fainted himself with horror when he found that, after 
the cruel blow which lopped her foot off, she lay as one 
lifeless; but he held the severed foot over the cauldron, 
and, as drops of blood fell from it, and he saw each turn 
in the water into shining gems, his heart took courage. 
Very soon there were plenty of jewels in the cauldron, 
and he quickly changed the wands, placed the severed 
foot against the wound, and immediately the two parts 
became one as before. Then the maiden opened her eyes, 
sprang to her feet, and drawing her veil about her, ran 
into the hut, and would not come out or speak to him 
any more. For a long while he waited, but, as she did 
not appear, he gathered up the precious stones and re- 
turned to the palace. He easily got some one to set the 
jewels, and found that there were enough to make, not 
only one, but three rare and beautiful anklets, and 
these he duly presented to the king on the very day that 
his month of grace was over. 

The king embraced him warmly, and made him rich 
gifts; and the next day the vain princess put two a.Y&\*Xs> 


on each foot, and strutted up and down in them admiring 
herself in the mirrors that lined her room. 

'Oh, Tote",' asked the starling, 'how do you think our 
princess looks now in these fine jewels?' 

'Ugh!' growled the parrot, who was really always cross 
in the mornings, and never recovered his temper until 
after lunch, 'she's got all her beauty at one end of her 
now; if she had a few of those fine gew-gaws round her 

neck and wrists she would look better; but now, to my 
mind, she looks more than ever like the washer-woman's 
daughter dressed up.' 

Poor princess! she wept and stormed and raved until 
she made herself quite ill; and then she declared to her 
father that, unless she had bracelets and necklace to match 
the anklets she would die. t 

Again the king sent for Ameer Alt, and ordered him to 


get a necklace and bracelets to match those anklets within 
a month, or be put to a cruel death. 

And again Ameer Ali spent nearly the whole month 
searching for the jewels, but all in vain. At length he 
made his way to the hut in the forest, and stood and 

'Fairy of the forest! Fairy of the forest! Help me! 
help me!' 

Once more the beautiful maiden appeared at his sum- 
mons and asked what he wanted, and when he had told 
her she said he must do exactly as he had done the first 
time, except that now he must cut off both her hands and 
her head. Her words turned Ameer Ali pale with horror; 
but she reminded him that no harm had come to her before, 
and at last he consented to do as she bade him. From 
her severed hands and head there fell into the cauldron 
bracelets and chains of rubies and diamonds, emeralds 
and pearls that surpassed any that ever were seen. Then 
the head and hands were joined on to the body, and left 
neither sign nor scar. Full of gratitude, Ameer Ali tried 
to speak to her, but she ran into the house and would not 
come back, and he was forced to leave her and go away 
laden with the jewels. 

When, on the day appointed, Ameer Ali produced a 
necklace and bracelets each more beautiful and priceless 
than the last, the king's astonishment knew no bounds, 
and as for his daughter she was nearly mad with joy. 
The very next morning she put on all her finery, and thought 
that now, at least, that disagreeable parrot could find no 
fault with her appearance, and she listened eagerly when 
she heard the starling say: 

'Oh, Tote*, how do you think our princess is looking 
now ?' 

'Very fine, no doubt/ grumbled the parrot; 'but what 
is the use of dressing up like that for oneself only? She 
ought to have a husband — why doesn't she marry tha 
man who got her all these splendid things V 


Then the princess sent for her father and told him that 
she wished to marry Ameer Ali. 

'My dear child,' said her father, 'you really are very 
difficult to please, and want something new every day. 
It certainly is time you married someone, and if you choose 
this man, of course he shall marry you.' 

So the king sent for Ameer Ali, and told him that 
within a month he proposed to do him the honour of 
marrying him to the princess, and making him heir to 
the throne. 

On hearing this speech Ameer Ali bowed low and 
answered that he had done and would do the king all 
the service that lay in his power, save only this one thing. 
The king, who considered his daughter's hand a prize 
for any man, flew into a passion, and the princess was 
more furious still. Ameer Ali was instantly thrown into 
the most dismal prison that they could find, and ordered 
to be kept there until the king had time to think in what 
way he should be put to death. 

Meanwhile the king determined that the princess ought 
in any case to be married without delay, so he sent forth 
heralds throughout the neighbouring countries, proclaiming 
that on a certain day any person fitted for a bridegroom 
and heir to the throne should present himself at the 

When the day came, all the court were gathered to- 
gether, and a great crowd assembled of men, young and 
old, who thought that they had as good a chance as any- 
one else to gain both the throne and the princess. As 
soon as the king was seated, he called upon an usher to 
summon the first claimant. But, just then, a farmer who 
stood in front of the crowd cried out that he had a petition 
to offer. 

'Well, hasten then,' said the king; 'I have no time to 

'Your majesty,' said the farmer, 'has now lived and 
administered justice long in this city, and will know that 


the tiger who is king of beasts hunts only in the forest, 
whilst jackals hunt in every place where there is something 
to be picked up.' 

'What is all this? what is all this?' asked the king. 
'The man must be mad!' 

'No, your majesty,' answered the farmer, 'I would 
only remind your majesty that there are plenty of jackals 
gathered to-day to try and claim your daughter and 
kingdom: every city has sent them, and they wait hungry 
and eager; but do not, O king, mistake or pretend again 
to mistake the howl of a jackal for the hunting cry of 
a tiger.' 

The king turned first red and then pale. 

'There is,' continued the farmer, 'a royal tiger bred 
in the forest who has the first and only true claim to your 

'Where? what do you mean?' stammered the king, 
growing pale as he listened. 

'In prison,' replied the farmer; 'if your majesty will 
clear this court of the jackals I will explain.' 

'Clear the court!' commanded the king; and, very 
unwillingly, the visitors left the palace. 

'Now tell me what riddle this is,' said he. 

Then the farmer told the king and his ministers how 
he had rescued the queen and brought up Ameer Ali; 
and he fetched the old queen herself, whom he had left 
outside. At the sight of her the king was filled with shame 
and self-reproach, and wished he could have lived his 
life over again, and not have married the mother of the 
proud princess, who caused him endless trouble until her 

'My day is past,' said he. And he gave up his crown 
to his son Ameer Ali, who went once more and called to 
the forest fairy to provide him with a queen to share his 

'There is only one person I will marry,' said he. And 
this time the maiden did not run away, but agreed to be 


his wife. So the two were married without delay, and 
lived long and reigned happily. 

As for the old woman whose pitcher Ameer Ali had 
broken, she was the forest maiden's fairy godmother, and 
when she was no longer needed to look after the girl she 
gladly returned to fairyland. 

The old king has never been heard to contradict his 
wife any more. If he even looks as if he does not agree 
with her, she smiles at him and says: 

'Is it the tiger, then? or the jackal ?' And he has not 
another word to say. 


Once upon a time there was a king of Lombardy who, 
though he was uglier than any of his subjects, loved beauty 
in others, so he married a wife who was declared by every- 
one to be the handsomest of women; and, whispered some, 
the most ill-natured also. Certainly she could not endure 
the sight of a pretty person, and her ladies were all the 
plainest of their sex. Worse than all, she was des- 
perately jealous of the king's son and daughter by his 
former wife. 

Unfortunately, in spite of all her evil qualities, the king 
was her complete slave, and badly though she treated 
the boy, the lovely princess was made to suffer ten times 
as much. Not contented with giving the girl, for a gov- 
erness, a woman whose temper was as bad as the queen's 
own, the cruel step-mother did everything she could 
think of to spoil the girl's beauty, and to force her to 
appear as ugly as she was herself; but, try as she might, 
when the hideous clothes and frightful brown paint 
had been removed, her loveliness shone out as bright 
as ever. 

Now the king of Lombardy was cousin to the Arch- 
duke of Placenza, who had lately lost his reason, to the 
great grief of his son and daughter, Perarthrites and Fer- 
randina. The doctors having all failed to restore him 
to health, the prince and princess sent a messenger to 
consult a famous enchantress, called the Mother of Sheaths, 
because everyone who visited her btou^tvt vn&i \yykv *. 


knife, which she thrust into one of the sheaths with which 
her cavern was lined. However, they obtained little 
comfort from the witch, who bade them 'seek their father's 
wits in the place where he had lost them.' Against the 
wishes of the chief ministers, Perarthrites and Ferran- 
dina rode off to the mysterious castle where the king 
had slept when his terrible fate had overtaken him, 
and, once inside the gates, nothing more was heard of 

When three weeks had passed and still there was no 
news, the king's chief minister called a council to talk 
over the matter, and, at the end, it was decided that a 
company of distinguished persons should visit the Mother 
of Sheaths, and that the knives they must take with them 
should be of pure gold, richly set with precious stones. 
The witch was so pleased with the beauty of the gifts 
that she not only listened attentively to their story, but 
proceeded to a hole in the cavern, from which she drew 
out a little case containing a comb, and a steel collar, 
fastened by a gold key. 

'Carry this comb and the collar to every court until 
you find a lady beautiful enough to unlock the collar, 
and a man good enough to draw the comb from its case. 
When you have discovered these, you can return whence 
you came.' 

'But I do not see,' said the chamberlain, 'how 
that will help us to bring back our lost prince and 

'It is all I can do for you,' answered the Mother of 
Sheaths; and she went into the back of the cavern, where 
they dared not follow her. 

For the next few months the mad king's principal min- 
isters wandered from one court to another, till at last thev 
reached Lombardy, where they found that their story had 
already travelled before them. As soon as they appeared 


in the presence-chamber the king received them with open 
arms, for in his heart he had no doubt that his wife was 
the peerless beauty destined to unfasten the collar. And, 
indeed, if paint and hair-dye and magnificent dresses 
could have ensured her doing so, he would certainly have 
been right. But, blinded by his love for this wicked 
woman, he had really no idea that her charms were not 
her own. 

At the appointed hour the queen entered the throne- 
room, having by her side the young princess, in the most 
grievous plight imaginable. Her dress was so contrived 
as to give the idea that she had a hump; her pink-and- 
white skin was thickly covered with yellow paint, and 
her black hair all hidden by a close-fitting brown cloth 
cap. Murmurs of indignation rose on all sides, and the 
ambassadors, who had frequently heard the princess 
compared to the lovely Ferrandina, were dumb with 
astonishment. As for the king, he could hardly raise 
his eyes from the ground, so ashamed was he; and 
signing to his son to take his place, he withdrew from 
the scene. 

Mounting the throne, the prince commanded the trial 
to begin at once, and the collar was handed to the prin- 
cess's governess, who, being one of the ugliest women that 
ever was seen, naturally failed to turn the key. Seizing 
the chance of his being for a short time in power, the prince 
resolved to punish her cruelties towards his sister, and 
especially this last one, to which she had prompted the 
queen, and ordered her to be taken out and executed, 
which was done, with great good will, by the attendants. 
He then further commanded the ladies in waiting to attend 
his sister to her apartments, and bathe her and dress her 
in the queen's most splendid robes, as she had none of 
her own; and the queen, though gnashing her teeth with 
anger, for once dared not interfere. More quickly than 
could have been expected, the princess returned, looking 
so beautiful that if anyone had doubted before who vjovM. 


be able to unlock the collar they were instantly convinced. 
The prince glanced at her, but said nothing, and, signing 
to one of the ambassadors, he ordered him to make trial 
of the comb. One by one each man present did his best 
to remove it from its case, and one by one each was forced 
to own himself beaten. At length only the prince 
remained, but as he was the judge he must wait till 
the last. 

After the men had finished, the ladies of the court 
had the collar presented to them according to rank, but 
none could even turn the key. Finally it was handed to 
the queen, who managed to open it a little way. Her 
heart beat with triumph, but immediately it closed again 
with a snap, and she sank back, fainting from disap- 

By this time there were only left the prince and his 
sister; and no sooner did he touch the case than it opened 
of itself, while the lock of the collar yielded directly the 
princess took hold of the key. Cries of delight rose from 
the courtiers and attendants; but these were interrupted 
by a whirlwind accompanied by thick darkness, and fol- 
lowed by an earthquake. 

When all was calm again, and the sun shining, the prince 
and princess had disappeared. 

Although the king's son and daughter were the only 
persons who had vanished in the storm, unluckily they 
had been carried off in opposite directions. The rapid 
motion through the air deprived the princess of her senses, 
which she nearly lost a second time, from fright, when 
she was set down alone in the middle of a thick forest. 
She ran wildly about, calling to her brother to come to 
her aid; but her cries only attracted the attention of some 
hungry wolves, who sprung towards her with their jaws 
gaping and their red tongues hanging out. Falling on 
her knees, she covered her face with one hand uncon- 
sciously grasping the collar with the other, and awaited 
her doom. Already she could feel their hot breath on 


her cheek, and crouched lower and lower, when the eyes 
of the foremost wolf caught sight of the collar. With a 
howl that echoed through the forest he bounded away, 
followed by his companions. 

As soon as the princess had recovered from the shock 
she rose and fled, without knowing whither, until she 
found herself in a broad road, and beheld, approaching 
her, a flock of sheep driven by two shepherds. She has- 
tened towards them in order to implore their help, when 
suddenly the sheep caught sight of her collar and instantly 
scattered in all directions. 

'I must have something about me which frightens all 
beasts,' she thought, and took great comfort therefrom; 
and in good spirits she went her way, till she came to the 
gates of an old castle. She was just about to enter and 
beg for a night's shelter, when a snow white fox ran across 
the road, and stopped in front of her. 

He was so pretty, and had such bright beseeching eyes, 
that the princess hastily tucked the collar under her dress, 
lest he too should flee at the sight of it. Very gently she 
drew near, hoping he might follow her into the castle, but 
he only set off in another direction, and, tired though she 
was, something forced the girl to follow him. Thankful 
indeed was she when he turned a corner and sat down 
before the door of a tiny palace, which was built on the 
bank of a river. When she came up he took the hem of 
her dress between his teeth and led her into a room where 
there was a table covered with milk and fruit. After she 
had eaten and drunk, she lay down upon a pile of cushions, 
with the fox at her feet, and fell asleep to dream of her 
lost brother. 

If the princess was dreaming of her brother, he was no 
less thinking of her, on the wild seashore, whither the 
whirlwind had cast him. All was bleak and bare, except 
a green island which he could only see from the top of a 
high rock where he passed all his days, gazing on the waving 
palm trees and glittering waterfalls in the d\stax&&. 


'Suppose she should be there?' he said to himself; and 
though there was no reason to expect that the princess 
should be in that place more than in any other, he could 
not get the notion out of his head. 

A song, sung in the loveliest voice he had ever heard, 
roused the young man from his musings, and he instantly 
turned in the direction from which it had come. But 
though the singer seemed close to him he could see her 
nowhere, and indeed, no sooner had he reached one spot 
than the voice sounded in another direction, and he fol- 
lowed it up and down, till he was suddenly stopped by 
the sight of a large fish's skin, which lay stretched on the 
sand between the sea and the rocks. The thing was so 
ugly, that he stepped aside in disgust, and at that instant 
something leapt into the sea behind his back. This 
caused him to look round. The fish's skin was no longer 
there, but in a cave in the rock behind it he discovered a 
bath of ebony lined with gold, which glittered in the 

Days passed without any adventures, and the prince 
had almost made up his mind to leave the shore, and to 
seek his sister inland, when once more he heard the 
voice that had so charmed him, and beheld the bloody 
skin lying on the sand, and the bath, now filled with water, 
in the grotto. Little sleep had he that night, and before 
dawn he hid himself behind the rocks, determined not 
to move from the place till the fish should come back 

He had not very long to wait, for with the first rays of 
the sun there appeared, out to sea, a shining white object 
which was blown by gentle breezes towards the shore. As 
it came nearer he beheld a maiden, of dazzling loveliness, 
seated in a shell where blues and pinks and greens all 
melted into each other. In her hand she held the rope 
with which the shell was guided. 

The prince was so bewildered at her beauty that he 
lorgot that he was in hiding, and, rushing out, sank on 


his knees on the sands, holding out his hands towards 
this wonderful vision. But as he did so the comb and 
its case fell out of his pocket, and at the sight the lady 
uttered a wild shriek, and, steering her shell round, van- 
ished speedily in the direction of the island. Throwing 
off his clothes, the prince was preparing to swim after her, 
when he perceived beside him a snow white fox, looking 
the same way, and making frantic signs with his paws, till 
a small boat put out and set sail towards them, to the great 
joy of the little creature. 

When the boat drew up to the beach, the fox waved 
his paw towards the prince's clothes, which he took to 
mean that he was to put them on again. This done, they 
both got in, and had just pushed off, when the prince 
suddenly recollected that the sight of the comb had fright- 
ened away the beautiful lady. In a transport of fury he 
raised his hand to fling it into the sea, but the fox sprang 
on him and held on so tightly to his arm that he could not 
lift it. At that moment a horseman on the shore let fly 
an arrow at the fox, with so true an aim that the little 
creature fell heavily into the well of the boat, and closed 
its eyes, like one who has received his death-blow. The 
grief of the prince was sore. He instantly leaped to land, 
but the murderer was already far distant. When the 
young man turned round again, the boat and the fox were 
nowhere to be seen. 

An approaching storm drove him into the grotto, which 
was lighted up by a multitude of tapers, each one being 
in the shape of a knife half out of its sheath. Over the 
bath was a tent-shaped covering of white, embroidered 
with sheaths, and from beneath it came a voice: 

'Prince, will you trust me whatever happens, knowing 
that my heart is yours, and as I feel that yours is mine? 
But, beware, for if you give the smallest sign of fear, when 
the tent is opened, you will lose me for ever.' 

She did well to warn him; and even then he had 
much ado to keep the colour in his cheeks &ti& \n& YoxA 


from trembling, for a crocodile's head with snapping jaws 
advanced towards him. With a mighty effort he managed 
to remain still, and to gaze steadily at the horrible beast, 
and as he did so, the head bent backwards, and beneath 
it was seen the lovely countenance of the Lady of the 

'Quick! prince! quick! the time is flying, comb me 
at once or I shall vanish from your sight.' At her words 
he took out the comb, but found to his surprise that it 
needed all his strength to draw it from its sheath. And, 
strange to say, that in proportion as the comb emerged 
from its sheath the lady's head was freed from its horrible 
covering, and her body rose a little more out of the water. 
When her shoulders and arms were freed, she called to 

'Enough, so far you have obeyed my orders. Now 
burn my skin.' 

'Ah, that I can never do,' cried he; but the lady cut 
him short. 

'Then we shall both rue it for ever,' she said gravely; 
'for I can only be the wife of him who will burn niy skin.' 
And while he still stood hesitating, the curtains of the 
tent fell back on her, and the tapers fizzled out. 

Bitterly repenting his slowness, he wandered towards 
the forest where a fire was burning, hardly knowing what 
he did; but on his way he almost fell over the skin, which 
was lying across his path. 

'Ah, fool that I was! This must be the skin she wished 
me to burn,' said he. And seizing it in both hands he 
flung it into the fire, where it exploded with a terrific noise. 
At first he rushed off to some distance, not knowing what 
might next befall, but after a while found that his steps 
had led him back to the place of the fire. The skin had 
gone and left no traces, but among the cinders he beheld 
something shining, which proved to be the magic collar. 
Ah! then his sister, for whom he had so greatly longed, 
must be near at last! And before he could turn his head 


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or pick up the collar, her arms were round his neck, and 
everything else was forgotten. 

'You shall tell your story first,' she said, when at length 
they could speak. And so he did; but his head was so 
full of the Lady of the Shell that he forgot to say anything 
about the fox. And it was well that he had forgotten, 
for when the princess had poured forth her own adven- 
tures, she ended up by speaking of all she owed to the 
little white fox. 

'You cannot even guess the care he took of me in the 
little palace. But though nothing could exceed his kind- 
ness, I saw by his eyes that there was something he wanted 
me to give him, but I could not tell what. Alas! the day 
came that I learnt it to my cost. I had hidden the collar 
in a thick bush, lest the fox should catch sight of it and 
be scared away as the other animals had been. But, one 
day, when we were in the garden, the sun happened to 
shine straight on it, and he sprang towards it with every 
sign of delight. He was about to seize it between his 
teeth when it closed with a loud noise. The fox fled away 
with a piercing scream, and though I have sought him far 
and wide, I have never seen him since. I was here when 
you flung the skin into the cinders, and no doubt, in my 
hurry to escape, the collar must have dropped from me. 
Ah, dear brother/ she continued with tears in her eyes, 
'I can no longer live without my beloved fox; help me, I 
entreat you, to find him. 1 

So great was her grief that the prince dared not tell 
her what sad fate had overtaken the poor little animal, 
and trusted that time might soothe her. He assured 
her that he would go with her wherever she desired if 
she would grant him this one day to spend on the sea- 
shore; and with this the princess was forced to be 

The prince was standing on the rock, looking out towards 
the lovely island, and straining his eyes to see the white 
sail once more, when frightful shrieks from the wood *. 



little way off caused him to hasten with all his speed in 
that direction. He soon perceived a knight on horseback 
with a bow slung to his back, struggling to lift a woman 
on to his saddle. The knights' surprise at the sight of a 
man in this desolate spot caused him to drop the woman's 
arm, and she rushed to take shelter behind her defender, 
who, to his amazement, then recognised his step-mother. 

'How did you come here?' he asked coldly, more than 
half regretting that he had not left her to her fate; but 
she read what was in his heart, and fell on her knees before 

'Oh, forgive me my wickedness/ she cried, 'for indeed 
I have repented of it long ago, and come to the aid of 
your father who has been sorely smitten by that mad 
archduke from whom you have just saved me! There is 
no time to pursue him,' she added, as the prince started 
at the sound of the vanishing hoofs; and as they pushed 
their way along the path she told him all that had happened 
since they had last met. 

'From the moment that the king knew of my cruelty 
to your sister/ said she, 'he vowed he would never see 
me again, and left the court in search of you both. I 
followed him secretly, but not being able to gain any 
tidings of him, consulted the Mother of Sheaths, who 
took me to rest in that island where the palm trees are 
waving. There she showed me a lovely princess who, 
under a spell, was forced daily to take the form of a 
crocodile, and when the dreaded moment arrived the skin 
appeared before her, and, shudder as she might, some 
unseen power impelled her to wrap herself in it and plunge 
into the sea. It is to this island I am leading you; but 
first we must find your sister, for on her presence hangs 
the life of the white fox — if, indeed, he is not dead 

'The white fox!' exclaimed the prince. 'What do you 
know of him ? ' 

'Not much/ answered the queen; 'but, since I arrived 


on the island, he was always with us, and charmed us all. 
Yesterday we missed him, but in the evening a little boat 
drifted up on the sands, and in it lay the fox, covered with 
blood. While his wounds were being tended in the palace 
with all the care imaginable, I set out to consult a wizard, 
who told me that I must enter the skiff and seek for the 
prince and princess of Lombardy, and that if, in twenty- 
four hours, I could bring them into the presence of the 
fox, his life would be saved. On a rock along the beach 
I found your father with an arrow through his shoulder, 
from the bow of his cousin the mad archduke, who was 
drawing another from his quiver, destined for me, when 
I fled into the forest!' 

'My father so near!' cried the prince. 'We must return 
and seek him, and also look for my sister.' 

They found her in the grotto, with her father's head 
in her lap, trying vainly to staunch his wounds. Between 
them they contrived to carry him to the boat, which 
sailed swiftly towards the island. On the way the prince 
gently broke to his sister the sad state of the white 

' Take me to him ! ' she said, as soon as the boat touched 
the island; and in silence the queen went down the path 
to the palace. 

The white fox was lying on a soft mattress in front 
of a fire, his eyes closed, and a look on his face which 
told that death was not far distant. But he knew, some- 
how, that the princess was near him, and opened his 
eyes and wagged his tail feebly. The princess burst 
into sobs and tears, till a hand on her shoulder checked 

'Why do you waste the few moments that are left you 
in this manner?' asked the governor of the island sternly. 
'Place the collar you wear round his neck, and he will be 
cured at once. But you must act quickly.' 

The princess seemed turned to stone as s>\\& Yy&&\&&. 



'The collar!' she gasped. 'But I have not got it, I lost 
it in the forest!' And the thousand sheaths with which 
the walls were hung took up the cry: 

'The collar is lost! The collar is lost!' 

'What collar are you talking about?' asked the king, 
who was lying on another bed, with the physicians bending 


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acess .saves 


White FoX_yJ 

over him. 'Here is one that I picked up among seme 
cinders, before that madman shot me — perhaps it may 
be the one you want, or, at all events, it may do as well.' 
And he signed to an attendant to take the collar from the 
pocket of his velvet jerkin. 
The princess leapt forward with joy at the sight of the 


precious thing, and snatching it from the hand of the man 
she placed it round the neck of the fox. All present held 
their breath as they watched what was happening; and 
what did happen was that his legs grew longer and longer, 
and his nose grew shorter and shorter. The fox was gone, 
and in his stead there lay Perarthrites, in a coat of thick 
white fur. 

But though the prince of Lombardy was rejoiced to 
see his friend and cousin again, his heart still bled for 
the beautiful lady who had vanished so mysteriously. His 
face was so troubled that the governor of the island 
marked it, and asked what was the matter. 'Oh! help 
me, if you can,' cried the prince. 'The thought of the 
sufferings that the enchanted nymph may be undergoing 
tortures me!' 

'They are far worse than you can imagine,' gravely 
replied the governor; 'but if you still possess your comb, 
you may yet relieve her of them. Ah! that is well,' he 
continued, as the prince quickly drew the comb from its 
case. 'Now follow me.' 

Not only the prince, but every one else followed; and 
the governor led them down a long gallery to a heavy 
iron door, which flew open at its own accord. But what 
a sight met the prince's eyes! The lady whom he had 
last beheld in peerless beauty was sitting in a chair wrapped 
in flames, which were twisting like hair about her head. 
Her face was swollen and red; her mouth was open as if 
gasping for breath. Only her arms and neck were as 
lovely as ever in their whiteness. 

'This is your doing,' said the governor to the prince; 
'you brought her to this when you burnt the crocodile's 
skin. Now try if, by combing, you can soothe her 

At the first touch of the comb the flames became 
suddenly extinguished; at the second, the look of pain 
vanished from the face, and it shrank into its usual size; 
at the third, she rose from the chair, lovelier Xhaxi ^wt 


ever was before, and flung herself into the arms of her 
brother Perarthrites. 

After this there was nothing more to be done but to 
marry the two couples as fast as possible. And when 
the wedding was over, Perarthrites and his bride returned 
to Placenza, and Ferrandina and her husband to Lombardy, 
and they all lived happily till they died. 

(From Count Anthony Hamilton's Fairy Tales.) 


Once upon a time there lived in Hindustan two kings 
whose countries bordered upon each other; but, as they 
were rivals in wealth and power, and one was a Hindu 
rajah and the other a Mohammedan badshah, they were 
not good friends at all. In order, however, to escape 
continual quarrels, the rajah and the badshah had drawn 
up an agreement, stamped and signed, declaring that if 
any of their subjects, from the least to the greatest, crossed 
the boundary between the two kingdoms, he might be seized 
and punished. 

One morning the badshah and his chief wazir, or prime 
minister, were just about to begin their morning's work 
over the affairs of the kingdom, and the badshah had 
taken up a pen and was cutting it to his liking with a sharp 
knife, when the knife slipped and cut off the tip of his 

'Oh-he, wazir!' cried the king, 'I've cut the tip of my 
finger off!' 

'That is good hearing!' said the wazir in answer. 

'Insolent one,' exclaimed the king. 'Do you take 
pleasure in the misfortunes of others, and in mine 
also? Take him away, my guards, and put him in 
the court prison until I have time to punish him as he 
deserves ! ' 

Instantly the officers in attendance seized upon the 
luckless wazir, and dragged him out of the king's presence 
towards the narrow doorway, through which unhappy 
criminals were wont to be led to prison 01 fcracu\k>w. ks> 


the door opened to receive him, the wazir muttered some- 
thing into his great white beard which the soldiers could 
not hear. 

'What said the rascal?' shouted the angry king. 

He says, 'he thanks your majesty,' replied one of the 
gaolers. And at his words, the king stared at the closing 
door, in anger and amazement. 

'He must be mad,' he cried, 'for he is grateful, not 
only for the misfortunes of others, but for his own; 
surely something has turned his head! ' 

Now the king was very fond of his old wazir, and 
although the court physician came and bound up his 
injured finger with cool and healing ointment, and 
soothed the pain, he could not soothe the soreness of the 
king's heart, nor could any of all his ministers and 
courtiers, who found his majesty very cross all the day 

Early next morning the king ordered his horse and 
declared that he would go hunting. Instantly all was 
bustle and preparation in stable and hall, and by the 
time he was ready a score of ministers and huntsmen 
stood ready to mount and accompany him; but to their 
astonishment the king would have none of them. In- 
deed, he glared at them so fiercely that they were 
glad to leave him. So away and away he wandered, 
over field and through forest, so moody and thoughtful 
that many a fat buck and gaudy pheasant escaped 
without notice, and so careless was he whither he was 
going that he strayed without perceiving it over into the 
rajah's territory, and only discovered the fact when, 
suddenly, men stepped from all sides out of a thicket, 
and there was nothing left but surrender. Then the 
poor badshah was seized and bound and taken to the 
rajah's prison, thinking most of the time of his wazir, 
who was suffering a similar fate, and wishing that, like 
the wazir, he could feel that there was something to give 
thanks for. 


That night the rajah held a special council to consider 
what should be done to his rival who had thus given him- 
self into his hands. All the Brahmans were sent for — 
fat priests who understood all about everything, and what 
days were lucky and what unlucky — and, whilst all the 
rest of the rajah's councillors were offering him different 
advice until he was nearly crazy with anger and indecision, 
the chief Brahman was squatting in a corner figuring out 
sums and signs to himself with an admiring group of lesser 
priests around him. At last he arose, and advanced 
towards the throne. 

'Well,' said the rajah anxiously, 'what have you to 
advise ? ' 

'A very unlucky day!' exclaimed the chief Brahman. 
'Oh, a very unlucky day! The god Devi is full of wrath, 
and commands that to-morrow you must chop off this 
badshah's head and offer it in to him in sacrifice. ' 

'Ah, well/ said the rajah, 'let it be done. I leave it 
to you to carry out the sentence.' And he bowed to the 
priests and left the room. 

Before dawn great preparations were being made for 
a grand festival in honour of the great idol Devi. Hun- 
dreds of banners waved, hundreds of drummers drummed, 
hundreds of singers chanted chants, hundreds of priests, 
well washed and anointed, performed their sacred rites, 
whilst the rajah sat, nervous and ill at ease, amongst hun- 
dreds of courtiers and servants, wishing it were all well 
over. At last the time came for the sacrifice to be offered, 
and the poor badshah was led out bound, to have his head 
chopped off. 

The chief Brahman came along with a smile on his 
face, and a big sword in his hand, when, suddenly, he 
noticed that the badshah's finger was tied up in a bit of 
rag. Instantly he dropped the sword, and, with his eyes 
starting out of his head with excitement, pounced upon 
the rag and tore it off, and there he saw that the tip of 
his victim's finger was missing. At this Y\e ^oV nsx^ to& 


and angry indeed, and he led the badshah up to where the 
rajah sat wondering. 

* Behold! O rajah,' he said, 'this sacrifice is useless, 
the tip of his finger is gone! A sacrifice is no sacrifice 
unless it is complete.' And he began to* weep with rage 
and mortification. 

But of instead of wailing likewise, the rajah gave a sigh 
of relief, and answered: 'Well, that settles the matter. 
If it had been anyone else I should not have minded; but, 
somehow — a king and all — well, it doesn't seem quite 
right to sacrifice a king.' And with that he jumped up 
and with his jewelled dagger cut the badshah's cords, 
and marched with him out of the temple back to the 

After having bathed and refreshed his guest, the rajah 
loaded him with gifts, and himself accompanied him with 
a large escort as far as the frontier between their kingdoms, 
where, amidst salutes and great rejoicings, they tore up 
the old agreement and drew up another in which each 
king promised welcome and safe conduct to any of the 
other's people, from the least to the greatest, who came 
over the border on any errand whatever. And so they 
embraced, and each went his own way. 

When the badshah got home that very evening he sent 
for his imprisoned wazir. 

'Well, O wazir!' he said, when the old man had been 
brought before him, 'what think you has been happening 
to me?' 

'How can a man in prison know what is happening 
outside it?' answered the wazir. 

Then the badshah told him all his adventures. And 
when he had reached the end he added: 

'I have made up my mind, as a token of gratitude 
for my escape, to pardon you freely, if you will tell me 
why you gave thanks when I cut off the tip of my 

'Sire,' replied the old wazir, 'am I not right in thinking 


that it was a very lucky thing for you that you did cut off 
the tip of your finger, for otherwise you would certainly 
have lost your head. And to lose a scrap of one's finger 
is surely the least of the two evils.' 

'Very true,' answered the king, touching his head as he 
spoke, as if to make quite certain that it was still there, 
'but yet — why did you likewise give thanks when I put 
you into prison?' 

'I gave thanks,' said the wazir, 'because it is good always 
to give thanks. And had I known that my being in prison 
was to prevent the god Devi claiming me instead of your 
majesty, as a perfect offering, I should have given greater 
thanks still.' 

(Punj&bi story.) 


In the great country far away south, through which flows 
the river Nile, there lived a king who had an only child 
called Samba. 

Now, from the time that Samba could walk he 
showed signs of being afraid of everything, and as he 
grew bigger he became more and more frightened. At 
first his father's friends made light of it, and said to each 

'It is strange to see a boy of our race running into a 
hut at the trumpeting of an elephant, and trembling with 
fear if a lion cub half his size comes near him; but, after 
all, he is only a baby, and when he is older he will be as 
brave as the rest." 

'Yes, he is only a baby,' answered the king who over- 
heard them, 'it will be all right by-and-by.' But, somehow, 
he sighed as he said it, and the men looked at him and 
made no reply. 

The years passed away, and Samba had become a tall 
and strong youth. He was good-natured and pleasant, 
and was liked by all, and if during his father's hunt- 
ing parties he was seldom to be seen in any place 
of danger, he was too great a favourite for much to be 

'When the king holds the feast and declares him to be 
his heir, he will cease to be a child,' murmured the rest 
of the people, as they had done before; and on the day of 
the ceremony their hearts beat gladly, and they cried to 
each other: 

'It is Samba, Samba, whose chin is above the heads 


of other men, who will defend us against the tribes of 
the robbers!' 

Not many weeks after, the dwellers in the village awoke 
to find that during the night their herds had been driven 
away, and their herdsmen carried off into slavery by their 
enemies. Now was the time for Samba to show the brave 
spirit that had come to him with his manhood, and to ride 
forth at the head of the warriors of his race. But Samba 
could nowhere be found, and a party of the avengers went 
on their way without him. 

It was many days later before he came back, with his 
head held high, and a tale of a lion which he had tracked 
to its lair and killed, at the risk of his own life. A little 
while earlier and his people would have welcomed his 
story, and believed it all, but now it was too late. 

' Samba the Coward,' cried a voice from the crowd; 
and the name stuck to him, even the very children 
shouted it at him, and his father did not spare him. At 
length he could bear it no longer, and made up his 
mind to leave his own land for another where peace 
had reigned since the memory of man. So, early next 
morning, he slipped out to the king's stables, and 
choosing the quietest horse he could find, he rode away 

Never as long as he lived did Samba forget the terrors 
of that journey. He could hardly sleep at night for dread 
of the wild beasts that might be lurking behind every rock 
or bush, while, by day, the distant roar of a lion would 
cause him to start so violently, that he almost fell from 
his horse. A dozen times he was on the point of turning 
back, and it was not the terror of the mocking words and 
scornful laughs that kept him from doing so, but the terror 
lest he should be forced to take part in their wars. There- 
fore he held on, and deeply thankful he felt when the walls 
of a city, larger than he had ever dreamed of, rose before 


Drawing himself up to his full height, he rode proudly 
through the gate and past the palace, where, as was her 
custom, the princess was sitting on the terrace roof, watching 
the bustle in the street below. 

'That is a gallant figure, ' thought she, as Samba, mounted 
on his big black horse, steered his way skilfully among the 
crowds; and, beckoning to a slave, she ordered him to go 
and meet the stranger, and ask him who he was and whence 
he came. 

' Oh, princess, he is the son of a king, and heir to a country 
which lies near the Great River,' answered the slave, 
when he had returned from questioning Samba. And the 
princess on hearing this news summoned her father, and 
told him that if she was not allowed to wed the stranger 
she would die unmarried. 

Like many other fathers, the king could refuse his 
daughter nothing, and besides, she had rejected so many 
suitors already that he was quite alarmed lest no man 
should be good enough for her. Therefore, after a talk 
with Samba, who charmed him by his good humour and 
pleasant ways, he gave his consent, and three days 
later the wedding feast was celebrated with the utmost 

The princess was very proud of her tall handsome 
husband, and for some time she was quite content that 
he should pass the days with her under the palm trees, 
telling her the stories that she loved, or amusing her with 
tales of the manners and customs of his country, which 
were so different to those of her own. But, by-and-by, 
this was not enough; she wanted other people to be proud 
of him too, and one day she said: 

'I really almost wish that those Moorish thieves from 
the north would come on one of their robbing expeditions. 
I should love so to see you ride out at the head of our men, 
to chase them home again. Ah, how happy I should be 
when the city rang with your noble deeds ! ' 

WSKmA found stauWuj "is Wife. 


She looked lovingly at him as she spoke; but, to her 
surprise, his face grew dark, and he answered hastily: 

'Never speak to me again of the Moors or of war. It 
was to escape from them that I fled from my own land, 
and at the first word of invasion I should leave you for 

'How funny you are,' cried she, breaking into a 
laugh. 'The idea of anyone as big as you being afraid 
of a Moor! But still, you mustn't say those things to 
anyone except me, or they might think you were in 

Not very. long after this, when the people of the city 
were holding a great feast outside the walls of the 
town, a body of Moors, who had been in hiding for 
days, drove off all the sheep and goats which were peace- 
fully feeding on the slopes of a hill. Directly the loss 
was discovered, which was not for some hours, the king 
gave orders that the war drum should be beaten, and 
the warriors assembled in the great square before the 
palace, trembling with fury at the insult which had 
been put upon them. Loud were the cries for instant 
vengeance, and for Samba, son-in-law of the king, to 
lead them to battle. But shout as they might, Samba 
never came. 

And where was he? No further than in a cool, dark 
cellar of the palace, crouching among huge earthenware 
pots of grain. With a rush of pain at her heart, there his 
wife found him, and she tried with all her strength to 
kindle in him a sense of shame, but in vain. Even the 
thought of the future danger he might run from the con- 
tempt of his subjects was as nothing when compared with 
the risks of the present. 

'Take off your tunic of mail/ said the princess at last; 

and her voice was so stern and cold that none would have 

known it. 'Give it to me, and hand me besides your 

helmet, your sword and your spear/ And mt\v tdkwj 



fearful glances to right and to left, Samba stripped off 
the armour inlaid with gold, the property of the king's 
son-in-law. Silently his wife took, one by one, the pieces 
from him, and fastened them on her with firm hands, 
never even glancing at the tall form of her husband who 
had slunk back to his corner. When she had fastened 
the last buckle, and lowered her vizor, she went out, and 
mounting Samba's horse, gave the signal to the warriors 
to follow. 

Now, although the princess was much shorter than her 
husband, she was a tall woman, and the horse which she 
rode was likewise higher than the rest, so that when the 
men caught sight of the gold-inlaid suit of chain armour, 
they did not doubt that Samba was taking his rightful 
place, and cheered him loudly. The princess bowed in 
answer to their greeting, but kept her vizor down; and 
touching her horse with the spur, she galloped at the head 
of her troops to charge the enemy. The Moors, who 
had not expected to be so quickly pursued, had scarcely 
time to form themselves into battle array, and were speedily 
put to flight. Then the little troop of horsemen returned 
to the city, where all sung the praises of Samba their 

The instant they reached the palace the princess flung 
her reins to a groom, and' disappeared up a side staircase, 
by which she could, unseen, enter her own rooms. Here 
she found Samba lying idly on a heap of mats; but he 
raised his head uneasily as the door opened and looked 
at his wife, not feeling sure how she might act towards 
him. However, he need not have been afraid of harsh 
words: she merely unbuttoned her armour as fast as pos- 
sible, and bade him put it on with all speed. Samba 
obeyed, not daring to ask any questions; and when he had 
finished the princess told him to follow her, and led him 
on to the flat roof of the house, below which a crowd had 
gathered, cheering lustily. 

'Samba, the king's son-in-law! Samba, the bravest 


of the brave! Where is he? Let him show himself!' 
And when Samba did show himself the shouts and 
applause became louder than ever. 'See how modest 
he is! He leaves the glory to others!' cried they. And 
Samba only smiled and waved his hand, and said 

Out of all the mass of people assembled there to do 
honour to Samba, one alone there was who did not 
shout and praise with the rest. This was the princess's 
youngest brother, whose sharp eyes had noted certain 
things during the fight which recalled his sister much 
more than they did her husband. Under promise of 
secrecy, he told his suspicions to the other princes, but 
only got laughed at, and was bidden to carry his dreams 

'Well, well,' answered the boy, 'we shall see who is 
right; but the next time we give battle to the Moors 
I will take care to place a private mark on our com- 

In spite of their defeat, not many days after the Moors 
sent a fresh body of troops to steal some cattle, and again 
Samba's wife dressed herself in her husband's armour, 
and rode out at the head of the avenging column. This 
time the combat was fiercer than before, and in the thick 
of it her youngest brother drew near, and gave his sister 
a slight wound on the leg. At the moment she paid no 
heed to the pain, which, indeed, she scarcely felt; but 
when the enemy had been put to flight and the little band 
returned to the palace, faintness suddenly overtook her, 
and she could hardly stagger up the staircase to her own 

'I am wounded,' she cried, sinking down on the mats 
where he had been lying, 'but do not be anxious; it is 
really nothing. You have only got to wound yourself 
slightly in the same spot and no one will guess that it was 
I and not you who were fighting.' 

'What!' cried Samba, his eyes nearly starting from. 


his head in surprise and terror. 'Can you possibly 
imagine that I should agree to anything so useless and 
painful? Why, I might as well have gone to fight 
myself I ' 

'Ah, I ought to have known better, indeed,' answered 
the princess, in a voice that seemed to come from a long 
way off; but, quick as thought, the moment Samba 
turned his back she pierced one of his bare legs with a 

He gave a loud scream and staggered backwards, from 
astonishment, much more than from pain. But before 
he could speak his wife had left the room and had gone 
to seek the medicine man of the palace. 

'My husband has been wounded,' said she, when she 
had found him, 'come and tend him with speed, for he is 
faint from loss of blood.' And she took care that more 
than one person heard her words, so that all that day the 
people pressed up to the gate of the palace, asking for 
news of their brave champion. 

'You see,' observed the king's eldest sons, who had 
visited the room where Samba lay groaning, 'you see, 
O, wise young brother, that we were right and you were 
wrong about Samba, and that he really did go into the 
battle.' But the boy answered nothing, and only shook his 
head doubtfully. 

It was only two days later that the Moors appeared 
for the third time, and though the herds had been tethered 
in a new and safer place, they were promptly carried off 
as before. 'For,' said the Moors to each other, 'the tribe 
will never think of our coming back so soon when they 
have beaten us so badly.' 

When the drum sounded to assemble all the fighting 
men, the princess rose and sought her husband. 

'Samba,' cried she, 'my wound is worse than I thought. 
I can scarcely walk, and could not mount my horse without 
help. For to-day, then, I cannot do your work, so you 
must go instead of me.' 


'What nonsense,' exclaimed Samba, 'I never heard 
of such a thing. Why, I might be wounded, or even 
killed! You have three brothers. The king can choose 
one of them.' 

'They are all too young,' replied his wife; 'the men 
would not obey them. But if, indeed, you will not go, 
at least you can help me harness my horse. ' And to this 
Samba, who was always ready to do anything he was 
asked when there was no danger about it, agreed 

So the horse was quickly harnessed, and when it was 
done the princess said: 

'Now ride the horse to the place of meeting outside 
the gates, and I will join you by a shorter way, and will 
change places with you.' Samba, who loved riding in 
times of peace, mounted as she had told him, and when 
he was safe in the saddle, his wife dealt the horse a sharp 
cut with her whip, and he dashed off through the town 
and through the ranks of the warriors who were waiting 
for him. Instantly the whole place was in motion. Samba 
tried to check his steed, but he might as well have sought 
to stop the wind, and it seemed no more than a few 
minutes before they were grappling hand to hand with 
the Moors. 

Then a miracle happened. Samba the coward, the 
skulker, the terrified, no sooner found himself pressed 
hard, unable to escape, than something sprang into life 
within him, and he fought with all his might. And when 
a man of his size and strength begins to fight he generally 
fights well. 

That day the victory was really owing to Samba, and 
the shouts of the people were louder than ever. When 
he returned, bearing with him the sword of the Moorish 
chief, the old king pressed him in his arms and said: 

'Oh, my son, how can I ever show you how grateful 
I am for this splendid service ? ' 


But Samba, who was good and loyal when fear did not 
possess him, answered straightly: 

'My father, it is to your daughter and not to me to whom 
thanks are due, for it is she who has turned the coward 
that I was into a brave man.' 

(Conks Soudainais. Par C. Monteil.) 


Once there was a king who had two daughters; and their 
names were Kupti and Imani. He loved them both very 
much, and spent hours in talking to them, and one day 
he said to Kupti, the elder: 

'Are you satisfied to leave your life and fortune in my 

'Verily yes/ answered the princess, surprised at the 
question. 'In whose hands should I leave them, if not 
in yours ? ' 

But when he asked his younger daughter Imani the 
same question, she replied: 

'No, indeed! If I had the chance I would make my 
own fortune. ' 

At this answer the king was very displeased, and 

'You are too young to know the meaning of your words. 
But, be it so; I will give you the chance of gratifying your 

Then he sent for an old lame fakir who lived in a tumble- 
down hut on the outskirts of the city, and when he had 
presented himself, the king said: 

'No doubt, as you are very old and nearly crippled, 
you would be glad of some young person to live with 
you and serve you; so I will send you my younger 
daughter. She wants to earn her living, and she can 
do so with you.' 

Of course the old fakir had not a word to say, or, if 
he had, he was really too astonished and troubled to say 


it; but the young princess went off with him smiling, and 
tripped along quite gaily, whilst he hobbled home with her 
in perplexed silence. 

Directly they got to the hut the fakir began to think 
what he could arrange for the princess's comfort; but 
after all he was a fakir, and his house was bare except 
for one bedstead, two old cooking pots and an earthen 
jar for water, and one cannot get much comfort out of 
those things. However, the princess soon ended his per- 
plexity by asking: 

' Have you any money ? ' 

'I have a penny somewhere/ replied the fakir. 

'Very well,' rejoined the princess, 'give me the penny 
and go out and borrow me a spinning-wheel and a 

After much seeking the fakir found the penny and 
started on his errand, whilst the princess went off shop- 
ping. First she bought a farthing's worth of oil, and 
then she bought three farthings' worth of flax. When 
she got back with her purchases she set the old man on 
the bedstead and rubbed his crippled leg with the oil for 
an hour. Then she sat down to the spinning-wheel and 
spun and spun all night long whilst the old man slept, 
until, in the morning, she had spun the finest thread that 
ever was seen. Next she went to the loom and wove and 
wove until by the evening she had woven a beautiful silver 

'Now,' said she to the fakir, 'go into the market-place 
and sell my cloth whilst I rest.' 

'And what am I to ask for it?' said the old man. 

'Two gold pieces,' replied the princess. 

So the fakir hobbled away, and stood in the market- 
place to sell the cloth. Presently the elder princess drove 
by, and when she saw the cloth she stopped and asked 
the price. 

'Two gold pieces,' said the fakir. And the princess 
gladly paid them, after which the old fakir hobbled home 



with the money. As she had done before so Imam 
did again day after day. Always she spent a penny upon 
oil and flax, always she tended the old man's lame limb, 
and spun and wove the most beautiful cloths and sold 
them at high prices. Gradually the city became famous 
for her beautiful stuffs, the old fakir's lame leg became 

straighter and stronger, and the hole under the floor 
of the hut where they kept their money became fuller 
and fuller of gold pieces. At last, one day, the princess 

'I really think we have got enough to live in greater 
comfort.' And she sent for builders, and they built a 


beautiful house for her and the old fakir, and in all the 
city there was none finer except the king's palace. 
Presently this reached the ears of the king, and when 
he inquired whose it was they told him that it belonged 
to his daughter. 

'Well,' exclaimed the king, 'she said that she would 
make her own fortune, and somehow or other she seems 
to have done it!' 

A little while after this, business took the king to 
another country, and before he went he asked his elder 
daughter what she would like him to bring her back as 
a gift. 

'A necklace of rubies,' answered she. And then the 
king thought he would like to ask Imani too; so he sent 
a messenger to find out what sort of a present she wanted. 
The man happened to arrive just as she was trying to 
disentangle a knot in her loom, and bowing low before 
her, he said: 

'The king sends me to inquire what you wish him to 
bring you as a present from the country of Dur?' But 
Imani, who was only considering how she could best untie 
the knot without breaking the thread, replied: 

'Patience!' meaning that the messenger should wait till 
she was able to attend to him. But the messenger went 
off with this as an answer, and told the king that the only 
thing the princess Imani wanted was 'patience.' 

'Oh!' said the king, 'I don't know whether that's a 
thing to be bought at Dur; I never had it myself, but if it 
is to be got I will buy it for her.' 

Next day the king departed on his journey, and when 
his business at Dur was completed he bought for Kupti a 
beautiful ruby necklace. Then he said to a servant: 

'The princess Imani wants some patience. I did not 
know there was such a thing, but you must go to the market 
and inquire, and if any is to be sold, get it and bring it 
to me.' 

The servant saluted and left the king's presence. He 


walked about the market for some time crying: 'Has 
anyone patience to sell? patience to sell?' And some 
of the people mocked, and some (who had no patience) 
told him to go away and not be a fool; and some 
said: 'The fellow's mad! As though one could buy or 
sell patience I ' 

At length it came to the ears of the king of Dur that 
there was a madman in the market trying to buy patience. 
And the king laughed and said: 

'I should like to see that fellow, bring him here!' 

And immediately his attendants went to seek the man, 
and brought him to the king, who asked: 

'What is this you want?' 

And the man replied: 'Sire! I am bidden to ask for 

'Oh,' said the king, 'you must have a strange master! 
What does he want with it?' 

'My master wants it as a present for his daughter Imam,' 
replied the servant. 

'Well,' said the king, 'I know of some patience which 
the young lady might have if she cares for it; but it is not 
to be bought.' 

Now the king's name was Subbar Khan, and Subbar 
means 'patience'; but the messenger did not know that, 
or understand that he was making a joke. However, he 
declared that the princess Imani was not only young and 
beautiful, but also the cleverest, most industrious, and 
kindest-hearted of princesses; and he would have gone 
on explaining her virtues had not the king laughingly put 
up his hand and stopped him saying: 

'Well, well, wait a minute, and I will see what can be 

With that he got up and went to his own apartments 
and took out a little casket. Into the casket he put a fan, 
and shutting it up carefully he brought it to the messen- 
ger and said: 

'Here is a casket. It has no lock nor key, and yet 


will open only to the touch of the person who needs its 
contents — and whoever opens it will obtain patience; 
but I can't tell whether it will be quite the kind of 
patience that is wanted.' And the servant bowed low, 
and took the casket; but when he asked what was to be 
paid, the king would take nothing. So he went away and 
gave the casket and an account of his adventures to his 

As soon as their father got back to his country Kupti 
•and Imani each got the presents he had brought for them. 
Imani was very surprised when the casket was brought to 
her by the hand of a messenger. 

'But,' she said, 'what is this? I never asked for any- 
thing! Indeed I had no time, for the messenger ran away 
before I had unravelled my tangle.' 

But the servant declared that the casket was for her, 
so she took it with some curiosity, and brought it to the 
old fakir. The old man tried to open it, but in vain — so 
closely did the lid fit that it seemed to be quite immovable, 
and yet there was no lock, nor bolt, nor spring, nor any- 
thing apparently by which the casket was kept shut. When 
he was tired of trying he handed the casket to the princess, 
who hardly touched it before it opened quite easily, and 
there lay within a beautiful fan. With a cry of sur- 
prise and pleasure Imani took out the fan, and began to 
fan herself. 

Hardly had she finished three strokes of the fan before 
there suddenly appeared from nowhere in particular, king 
Subbar Khan of Dur! The princess gasped and rubbed 
her eyes, and the old fakir sat and gazed in such astonish- 
ment that for some minutes he could not speak. At length 
he said: 

' Who may you be, fair sir, if you please ? ' 

'My name,' said the king, 'is Subbar Khan of Dur. 
This lady,' bowing to the princess, 'has summoned me, 
and here I am!' 

' I ? ' — stammered the princess — ' I have summoned 


you? I never saw or heard of you in my life before, so 
how could that be?' 

Then the king told them how he had heard of a man 
in his own city of Dur trying to buy patience, and how he 
had given him the fan in the casket. 

'Both are magical,' he added; 'when anyone uses the 
fan, in three strokes of it I am with them; if they fold it 
and tap it on the table, in three taps I am at home again. 
The casket will not open to all, but you see it was this 
fair lady who asked for patience, and, as that is my name, 
here I am, very much at her service.' 

Now the princess Imani, being of a high spirit, was 
anxious to fold up the fan, and give the three taps which 
would send the king home again; but the old fakir was 
very pleased with his guest, and so in one way and another 
they spent quite a pleasant evening together before Subbar 
Khan took his leave. 

After that he was often summoned; and as both the 
fakir and he were very fond of chess and were good players, 
they used to sit up half the night playing, and at last a 
little room in the house began to be called the king's room, 
and whenever he stayed late he used to sleep there and go 
home again in the morning. 

By-and-bye it came to the ears of the princess Kupti 
that there was a rich and handsome young man visiting 
at her sister's house, and she was very jealous. So she 
went one day to pay Imani a visit, and pretended to be 
very affectionate, and interested in the house, and in the 
way in which Imani and the old fakir lived, and of their 
mysterious and royal visitor. As the sisters went from 
place to place, Kupti was shown Subbar Khan's room; 
and presently, making some excuse, she slipped in there 
by herself and swiftly spread under the sheet which lay 
upon the bed a quantity of very finely powdered and 
splintered glass which was poisoned, and which she had 
brought with her concealed in her clothes. Shortly after- 
wards she took leave of her sister, declaring that she could 


never forgive herself for not having come near her all this 
time, and that she* would now begin to make amends for 
her neglect. 

That very evening Subbar Khan came and sat up late 
with the old fakir playing chess as usual. Very tired, 
he at length bade him and the princess good-night and, 
as soon as he lay down on the bed, thousands of tiny, 
tiny splinters of poisoned glass ran into him. He could 
not think what was the matter, and started this way 
and that until he was pricked all over, and he felt as 
though he were burning from head to foot. But he never 
said a word, only he sat up all night in agony of body 
and in worse agony of mind to think that he should have 
been poisoned, as he guessed he was, in Imani's own 
house. In the morning, although he was nearly fainting, 
he still said nothing, and by means of the magic fan was 
duly transported home again. Then he sent for all the 
physicians and doctors in his kingdom, but none could 
make out what his illness was; and so he lingered on for 
weeks and weeks trying every remedy that anyone could 
devise, and passing sleepless nights and days of pain and 
fever and misery, until at last he was at the point of 

Meanwhile the princess Imani and the old fakir were 
much troubled because, although they waved the magic 
fan again and again, no Subbar Khan appeared, and they 
feared that he had tired of them, or that some evil fate 
had overtaken him. At last the princess was in such a 
miserable state of doubt and uncertainty that she deter- 
mined to go herself to the kingdom of Dur and see what 
was the matter. Disguising herself in man's clothes as a 
young fakir, she set out upon her journey alone and on 
foot, as a fakir should travel. One evening she found 
herself in a forest, and lay down under a great tree to 
pass the night. But she could not sleep for thinking of 
Subbar Khan, and wondering what had happened to him. 



Presently she heard two great monkeys talking to one 
another in the tree above her head. 

'Good evening, brother,' said one, 'whence come you — 
and what is the news ? ' 

'I come from Dur,' said the other, 'and the news is 
that the king is dying.' 

'Oh,' said the first, 'I'm sorry to hear that, for he is 
a master hand at slaying leopards and creatures that 


ought not to be allowed to live. What is the matter 
with him?' 

'No man knows,' replied the second monkey, 'but the 
birds, who see all and carry all messages, say that he is 
dying of poisoned glass that Kupti the king's daughter 
spread upon his bed.' 

'Ah!' said the first monkey, 'that is sad news; but if 
they only knew it, the berries of the very tree we sit in, 
steeped in hot water, will cure such a disease as that in 
three days at most.' 

'True!' said the other, 'it's a pity that we can't tell 
some man of a medicine so simple, and so save a good 
man's life. But men are so silly; they go and shut them- 
selves up in stuffy houses in stuffy cities instead of living 
in nice airy trees, and so they miss knowing all the best 

Now when Imani heard that Subbar Khan was dying 
she began to weep silently; but as she listened she dried 
her tears and sat up; and as soon as daylight dawned 
over the forest she began to gather the berries from the 
tree until she had filled her cloth with a load of them. 
Then she walked on as fast as she could, and in two days 
reached the city of Dur. The first thing she did was to 
pass through the market crying: 

1 Medicine for sale! Are any ill that need my medicine ? ' 
And presently one man said to his neighbour: 

1 See, there is a young fakir with medicine for sale, perhaps 
he could do something for the king.' 

'Pooh!' replied the other, 'where so many grey- 
beards have failed, how should a lad like that be of any 

'Still,' said the first, 'he might try.' And he went up 
and spoke to Imani, and together they set out for the palace 
and announced that another doctor was come to try and 
cure the king. 

After some delay Imani was admitted to the sick room, 


and, whilst she was so well disguised that the king did 
not recognize her, he was so wasted by illness that she 
hardly knew him. But she began at once, full of hope, 
by asking for some apartments all to herself and a pot in 
which to boil water. As soon as the water was heated 
she steeped some of her berries in it and gave the mixture 
to the king's attendants and told them to wash his body 
with it. The first washing did so much good that the 
king slept quietly all the night. Again the second day 
she did the same, and this time the king declared he was 
hungry, and called for food. After the third day he was 
quite well, only very weak from his long illness. On the 
fourth day he got up and sat upon his throne, and 
then sent messengers to fetch the physician who had 
cured him. When Imani appeared everyone marvelled 
that so young a man should be so clever a doctor; and 
the king wanted to give him immense presents of money 
and of all kinds of precious things. At first Imani would 
take nothing, but at last she said that, if she must be re- 
warded, she would ask for the king's signet ring and his 
handkerchief. So, as she would take nothing more, the 
king gave her his signet ring and his handkerchief, and 
she departed and travelled back to her own country as fast 
as she could. 

A little while after her return, when she had related 
to the fakir all her adventures, they sent for Subbar Khan 
by means of the magic fan; and when he appeared they 
asked him why he had stayed away for so long. Then 
he told them all about his illness, and how he had been 
cured, and when he had finished the princess rose up and, 
opening a cabinet, brought out the ring and handkerchief, 
and said, laughing: 

'Are these the rewards you gave to your doctor?' 
At that the king looked, and he recognised her, and 
understood in a moment all that had happened; and he 
jumped up and put the magic fan in his pocket, and de- 


clared that no one should send him away to his own country 
any more unless Imani would come with him and be his 
wife. And so it was settled, and the old fakir and Imani 
went to the city of Dur, where Imani was married to the 
king and lived happily ever after. 

(Punjabi story.) 


Once upon a time there lived a woman who had a pretty 
cottage and garden right in the middle of a forest. All 
through the summer she was quite happy tending her 
flowers and listening to the birds singing in the trees, but 
in the winter, when snow lay on the ground and wolves 
came howling about the door, she felt very lonely and 
frightened. 'If I only had a child to speak to, however 
small, what a comfort it would be!' she said to herself. 
And the heavier the snow fell the oftener she repeated 
the words. And at last a day arrived when she could 
bear the silence and solitude no longer, and set off to walk 
to the nearest village to beg someone to sell her or lend 
her a child. 

The snow was very deep, and reached above her ankles, 
and it took her almost an hour to go a few hundred 

'It will be dark at this rate before I get to the first house,' 
thought she, and stopped to look about her. Suddenly a 
little woman in a high-crowned hat stepped from behind 
a tree in front of her. 

'This is a bad day for walking! Are you going far?' 
inquired the little woman. 

'Well, I want to go to the village; but I don't see how 
I am ever to get there,' answered the other. 

'And may I ask what important business takes you 
there?' asked the little woman, who was really a witch. 


'My house is so dreary, with no one to speak to; I 
cannot stay in it alone, and I am seeking for a child — 
I don't mind how small she is — who will keep me com- 

'Oh, if that is all, you need go no further,' replied the 
witch, putting her hand in her pocket. 'Look, here is 
a barley corn, as a favour you shall have it for twelve 
shillings, and if you plant it in a flower-pot, and give it 
plenty of water, in a few days you will see something 

This promise raised the woman's spirits. She gladly 
paid down the price, and as soon as she returned home 
she dug a hole in a flower-pot and put in the seed. 

For three days she waited, hardly taking her eyes from 
the flower-pot in its warm corner, and on the third morning 
she saw that, while she was asleep, a tall red tulip had 
shot up, sheathed in green leaves. 

'What a beautiful blossom,' cried the woman, stooping 
to kiss it, when, as she did so, the red petals burst asunder, 
and in the midst of them was a lovely little girl only an 
inch high. This tiny little creature was seated on a mat- 
tress of violets, and covered with a quilt of rose leaves, 
and she opened her eyes and smiled at the woman as if 
she had known her all her life. 

'Oh! you darling; I shall never be lonely any more!' 
she exclaimed in rapture; and the baby nodded her head 
as much as to say: 

'No, of course you won't!' 

The woman lost no time in seeking for a roomy 
walnut-shell, which she lined thickly with white satin, 
and on it she placed the mattress, with the child, whom 
she called Maia, upon it. This was her bed, and stood 
on a chair close to where her foster-mother was sleeping; 
but in the morning she was lifted out, and placed on a 
leaf in the middle of a large bowl of water, and given 
two white horse-hairs to row herself about with. She 
was the happiest baby that ever was seen, and passed 


the whole day singing to herself, in a language of her own, 
that nobody else could understand. 

For some weeks the two lived together and never grew 
tired of each other's society, and then a terrible misfortune 
happened. One night, when the foster-mother lay sound 
asleep after a hard day's work, a big, ugly, wet frog hopped 
in through the open window and stood staring at Maia 
under her quilt of rose leaves. 

'Dear me I that is quite a pretty little girl,' thought 
the frog to herself; 'she would make a nice wife for my 
son.' And picking up the walnut cradle in her mouth, 
she hopped with it to the edge of a stream which ran through 
the garden. 

'Come and see what I have brought you,' called the 
old frog, when she reached her home in the mud. 

'Croak! croak! croak!' uttered the son, gazing with 
pleasure at the sleeping child. 

'Hush; don't make such a noise or you will wake 
her!' whispered the mother. 'I mean her to be a wife 
for you, and while we are preparing for the wedding we 
will set her on that water-lily leaf in the middle of the 
brook, so that she may not be able to run away from 

It was on this green floating prison that Maia awoke, 
frightened and puzzled, with the first rays of the sun. 
She stood up straight on the leaf, looking about her for 
a way of escape, and, finding none, she sat down again 
and began to weep bitterly. At length her sobs were 
heard by the old frog, who was busy in her house at the 
bottom of the marsh, twisting rushes into a soft carpet 
for Maia's feet, and twining reeds and grapes over the 
doorway, to make it look pretty for the bride. 

'Ah!' the poor child feels lost and unhappy,' she thought 
pitifully, for her heart was kind. 'Well, I have just done, 
and then my son and I will go to fetch her. When 
she sees how handsome he is she will be all smiles 


again.' And in a few minutes they both appeared beside 
the leaf. 

'This is your future husband. Did you ever see anyone 
like him? , asked the proud mother, pushing him forward. 
But, after one glance, Maia only cried the more; and the 
little fishes who lived in the stream came swimming round 
to see what was the matter. 

' It is absurd that such a pretty creature should be forced 
to take a husband whom she does not want/ said they 
to each other. 'And such an ugly one too! How- 
ever, we can easily prevent it.' And by turns they 
gnawed the stem of the lily-leaf close to the root, till at 
length it was free, and taking it in their mouths they bore 
Maia far away, till the little stream grew into a great 

Oh, how Maia enjoyed that voyage, when once she 
became quite certain that the frogs could no longer reach 
her. Past many towns she went, and the people on the 
banks all turned to look at her, and exclaimed: 

'What a lovely little girl! Where can she have come 
from ? ' 

'What a lovely little girl!' twittered the birds in the 
bushes. And a blue butterfly fell in love with her, and 
would not leave her; so she took off her sash, which just 
matched him, and tied it round his body, so that with 
this new kind of horse she travelled much faster than 

Unluckily, a great cockchafer, who was buzzing over 
the river, happened to catch sight of her, and caught 
her up in his claws. The poor butterfly was terribly 
frightened at the sight of him, and he struggled hard to 
free himself, so that the sash bow gave way, and he flew 
off into the sunshine. But Maia wasn't so fortunate, 
and though the cockchafer collected honey from the 
flowers for her dinner, and told her several times how 
pretty she was, she could not feel at ease with him. 
The cockchafer noticed this, and summoned his sisters 


to play with her; but they only stared rudely, and 

'Where did you pick up that strange object? She is 
very ugly to be sure, but one ought to pity her for she has 
only two legs.' 

'Yes, and no feelers,' added another; 'and she is so 
thin! Well, our brother has certainly very odd taste!' 

'Indeed he has!' echoed the others. And they repeated 
it so loud and so often that, in the end, he believed it too, 
and snatching her up from the tree where he had placed 

her, set her down upon a daisy which grew near the 

Here Maia stayed for the whole summer, and really 
was not at all unhappy. She ventured to walk about by 
herself, and wove herself a bed of some blades of grass, 
and placed it under a clover leaf for shelter. The red 
cups that grew in the moss held as much dew as she wanted, 
and the cockchafer had taught her how to get honey. 
But summer does not last for ever, and by-and-by the 


flowers withered, and instead of dew there was snow and 
ice. Maia did not know what to do, for her clothes were 
worn to rags, and though she tried to roll herself up in a 
dry leaf it broke under her fingers. It soon was plain to 
her that if she did not get some other shelter she would die 
of hunger and cold. 

So, gathering up all her courage, she left the forest 
and crossed the road into what had been, in the summer, 
a beautiful field of waving corn, but was now only a 
mass of hard stalks. She wandered on, seeing nothing 
but the sky above her head, till she suddenly found 
herself close to an opening which seemed to lead under- 

'It will be warm, at any rate, ' thought Maia, 'and 
perhaps the person who lives there will give me some- 
thing to eat. At any rate, I can't be worse off than I 
am now.' And she walked boldly down the passage. 
By-and-by she came to a door which stood ajar, and, 
peeping in, discovered a whole room full of corn. This 
gave her heart, and she went on more swiftly, till she 
reached a kitchen where an old field-mouse was baking 
a cake. 

'You poor little animal/ cried the mouse, who had 
never seen anything like her before, 'you look starved to 
death! Come and sit here and get warm, and share my 
dinner with me.' 

Maia almost wept with joy at the old mouse's kind 
words. She needed no second bidding, but ate more than 
she had ever done in her life, though it was not a breakfast 
for a humming-bird! When she had quite finished she 
put out her hand and smiled, and the old mouse said to 

'Can you tell stories? If so you may stay with me till 
the sun gets hot again, and you shall help me with my 
house. But it is dull here in the winter unless you have 
somebody clever enough to amuse you.' 

Yes, Maia had learned a great many stories from her 


foster-mother, and, besides, there were all her own adven- 
tures, and her escapes from death. She knew also how 
a room should be swept, and never failed to get up early 
in the morning and have everything clean and tidy for the 
old mouse. 

So the winter passed away pleasantly, and Maia 
began to talk of the spring, and of the time when she 
would have to go out into the world again and seek her 

'Oh, you need not begin to think of that for a while 
yet,' answered the field-mouse. 'Up on the earth they 
have a proverb: 

When the day lengthens 
Then the cold strengthens; 

it has been quite warm up to now, and the snow may fall 
any time. Never a winter goes by without it, and then 
you will be very thankful you are here, and not outside! 
But I dare say it is quiet for a young thing like you/ she 
added, 'and I have invited my neighbour the mole to 
come and pay us a visit. He has been asleep all these 
months, but I hear he is waking up again. You would 
be a lucky girl if he took into his head to marry you, only, 
unfortunately, he is blind, and cannot see how pretty you 
are.' And for this blindness Maia felt truly glad, as she 
did not want a mole for a husband. 

However, by-and-by he paid his promised visit, and 
Maia did not like him at all. He might be as rich and 
learned as possible, but he hated the sun, and the trees, 
and the flowers, and all that Maia loved best. To be 
sure, being blind, he had never seen them, and, like many 
other people, he thought that anything he did not know 
was not worth knowing. But Maia's tales amused him, 
though he would not for the world have let her see it, and 
he admired her voice when she sang: 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, 
How does your garden grow ? 

Hush-a-bye, baby, on the tree-top*, 


though he told her that it was all nonsense, and that 
trees and gardens were mere foolishness. When she 
was his wife he would teach her things better worth 

'Meanwhile,' he said, with a grand air, 'I have bur- 
rowed a passage from this house to my own, in which you 
can walk; but I warn you not to be frightened at a great 
dead creature that has fallen through a hole in the roof, 
and is lying on one side.' 

'What sort of creature is it?' asked Maia eagerly. 

'Oh, I really can't tell you,' answered the mole, in- 
differently; 'it is covered with something soft, and it has 
two thin legs, and a long sharp thing sticking out of its 

'It is a bird/ cried Maia joyfully, 'and I love birds! 
It must have died of cold/ she added, dropping her voice. 
'Oh! good Mr. Mole, do take me to see it!' 

'Come then, as I am going home,' replied the mole. 
And calling to the old field-mouse to accompany them, 
they all set out. 

'Here it is,' said the mole at last; 'dear me, how thankful 
I am Fate did not make me a bird. They can't say any- 
thing but "twit, twit," and die with the first breath of 

'Ah, yes, poor useless creature,' answered the field-mouse. 
But while they were talking, Maia crept round to the other 
side and stroked the feathers of the little swallow, and 
kissed his eyes. 

All that night she lay awake, thinking of the swallow 
lying dead in the passage. At length she could bear it 
no longer, and stole away to the place where the hay was 
kept, and wove a thick carpet. Next she went to the 
field-mouse's store of cotton which she picked in the sum- 
mer from some of the marsh flowers, and carrying them 
both down the passage, she tucked the cotton underneath 
the bird and spread the hay quilt over him. 

'Perhaps you were one of the swallows who sang to 


me in the summer,' said she. 'I wish I could have brought 
you to life again; but now, good-bye!' And she laid her 
face, wet with tears, on the breast of the bird. Surely she 
felt a faint movement against her cheek? Yes, there it 
was again! Suppose the bird was not dead after all, but 
only senseless with cold and hunger! And at this thought 
Maia hastened back to the house, and brought some grains 
of corn, and a drop of water in a leaf. This she held close 
to the swallow's beak, which he opened unconsciously, 
and when he had sipped the water she gave him the grains 
one by one. 

'Make no noise, so that no one may guess you are not 
dead,' she said. 'To-night I will bring you some more 
food, and I will tell the mole that he must stuff up the 
hole again, as it makes the passage too cold for me to walk 
in. And now farewell.' And off she went, back to the 
field-mouse, who was sound asleep. 

After some days of Maia's careful nursing, the swallow 
felt strong enough to talk, and he told Maia how he came 
to be in the place where she found him. Before he was 
big enough to fly very high he had torn his wing in a rose- 
bush, so that he could not keep up with his family and 
friends when they took their departure to warmer lands. 
In their swift course they never noticed that their little 
brother was not with them, and at last he dropped on the 
ground from sheer fatigue, and must have rolled down the 
hole into the passage. 

It was very lucky for the swallow that both the mole 
and the field-mouse thought he was dead, and did not 
trouble about him, so that when the spring really came, 
and the sun was hot, and blue hyacinths grew in the woods 
and primroses in the hedges, he was as tall and strong as 
any of his companions. 

'You have saved my life, dear little Maia,' said he; 
'but now the time has come for me to leave you — unless,' 


he added, 'you will let me carry you on my back far away 
from this gloomy prison.' 

Maia's eyes sparkled at the thought, but she shook her 
head bravely. 

'Yes, you must go; but I must stay behind,' she answered. 
' The field-mouse has been good to me, and I cannot desert 
her like that. Do you think you can open the hole for 
yourself?' she asked anxiously. 'If so, you had better 
begin now, for this evening we are to have supper with the 
mole, and it would never do for my foster-mother to find 
you working at it.' 

'That is true,' answered the swallow. And flying up 
to the roof, — which, after all, was not very high above 
them — he set to work with his bill, and soon let a flood 
of sunshine into the dark place. 

' Won't you come with me, Maia ?' said he. And though 
her heart longed for the trees and the flowers, she answered 
as before: 

'No, I cannot.' 

That one glimpse of the sun was all Maia had for 
some time, for the corn sprung up so thickly over the 
hole and about the house, that there might almost as 
well have been no sun at all. However, though she 
missed her bird friend every moment, she had no leisure 
to be idle, for the field-mouse had told her that verv 
soon she was to be married to the mole, and kept her 
spinning wool and cotton for her outfit. And as she had 
never in her life made a dress, four clever spiders were 
persuaded to spend the days underground, turning the 
wool and cotton into tiny garments. Maia liked the 
clothes, but hated the thought of the blind mole, only 
she did not know how to escape him. In the evenings, 
when the spiders were going to their homes for the night, 
she would walk with them to the door and wait till a puff 
of wind blew the corn ears apart, and she could see 
the sky. 

'If the swallow would only come now,' she said to herself, 

'I would go with him to the end of the world.' But he 

'Your outfit is all finished,' said the field-mouse one 
day when the berries were red and the leaves yellow, 'and 
the mole and I have decided that your wedding shall be 
in four weeks' time.' 

'Oh, not so soon! not so soon!' cried Maia, bursting 
into tears; which made the field-mouse very angry, and 

declare that Maia had no more sense than other girls, 
and did not know what was good for her. Then the mole 
arrived, and carried her on his back to see the new house 
he had dug for her, which was so very far under ground 
that Maia's tiny legs could never bring her up even as 
high as the field-mouse's dwelling, from which she might 
see the sunlight. Her heart grew heavier and heavier as 
the days went by, and in the last evening of all she creot 


out into the field among the stubble, to watch the sun set 
before she bade it good-bye for ever. 

'Farewell, farewell/ she said 'and farewell to my 
little swallow. Ah! if he only knew, he would come to 
help me.' 

'Twit! twit,' cried a voice just above her; and the 
swallow fluttered to the ground beside her. 'You look 

X* Wpib \o- 1* ju")|= fan tt«,3oo."Ucwi batK. 

sad; are you really going to let that ugly mole marry 

'I shall soon die, that is one comfort,' she answered 
weeping. But the swallow only said: 

'Tut! tut! get on my back, as I told you before, and 
I will take you to a land where the sun always shines, 
and you will soon forget that such a creature as a mole 
ever existed.' 


'Yes, I will come,' said Maia. 

Then the swallow tore off one of the corn stalks with 
his strong beak, and bade her tie it safely to his wing. 
And they started off, flying, flying south for many a day. 

Oh! how happy Maia was to see the beautiful earth 
again! A hundred times she longed for the swallow to 
stop, but he always told her that the best was yet to be; 
and they flew on and on, only halting for short rests, till 
they reached a place covered with tall white marble 
pillars, some standing high, wreathed in vines, out of 
which endless swallows' heads were peeping; others 
lying stretched among the flowers, white, yellow, and blue. 

'I live up there/ said the swallow, pointing to the tallest 
of the pillars. ' But such a house would never do for you, 
as you would only fall out of it and kill yourself. So 
choose one of those flowers below, and you shall have it 
for your own, and sleep all night curled up in its leaves.' 

'I will have that one,' answered Maia, pointing to a 
white flower shaped like a star, with a tiny crinkled wreath 
of red and yellow in its centre, and a long stem that swayed 
in the wind; 'that one is the prettiest of all, and it smells 
so sweet.' Then the swallow flew down towards it; but as 
they drew near they saw a tiny little manikin with a crown* 
on his head, and wings on his shoulders, balancing himself 
on one of the leaves. 'Ah, that is the king of the flower- 
spirits,' whispered the swallow. And the king stretched 
out his hands to Maia, and helped her to jump from the 
swallow's back. 

'I have waited for you for a long while,' said he, 'and 
now you have come at last to be my queen.' 

And Maia smiled, and stood beside him as all the fairies 
that dwelt in the flowers ran to fetch presents for her; and 
the best of them all was a pair of lovely gauzy blue wings 
to help fly about like one of themselves. 

So instead of marrying the mole, Little Maia was crowned 
a queen, and the fairies danced round her in a ring, while 
the swallow sang the wedding song. 


In a village in Hindustan there once lived a merchant 
who, although he rose early, worked hard, and rested late, 
remained very poor; and ill-luck so dogged him that he 
determined at last to go to some distant country and 
there to try his fortune. Twelve years passed by; his 
luck had turned, and now he had gathered great wealth, 
so that having plenty to keep him in comfort for the 
rest of his days, he thought once more of his native 
village, where he desired to spend the remainder of his 
life among his own people. In order to carry his riches 
with him in safely over the many weary miles that lay 
between him and his home, he bought some magnificent 
jewels, which he locked up in a little box and wore con- 
cealed upon his person; and, so as not to draw the 
attention of the thieves who infested the highways and 
made their living by robbing travellers, he started off in 
the poor clothes of a man who has nothing to lose. 

Thus prepared, he travelled quickly, and within a few 
days' journey from his own village came to a city where he 
determined to buy better garments and — now that he was 
no longer afraid of thieves — to look more like the rich 
man he had become. In his new raiment he approached 
the city, and near the great gate he found a bazaar where, 
amongst many shops filled with costly silks, and carpets, 
and goods of all countries, was one finer than all the rest. 
There, amidst his goods, spread out to the best advantage, 
sat the owner smoking a long silver pipe, and thither the 
merchant bent his steps, and saluting the owner politely, 


sat down also and began to make some purchases. Now, 
the proprietor of the shop, Beeka Mull by name, was a 
very shrewd man, and as he and the merchant conversed, 
he soon felt sure that his customer was richer than he 
seemed, and was trying to conceal the fact. Certain pur- 
chases having been made, he invited the new-comer to 
refresh himself and in a short time they were chatting 
pleasantly together. In the course of the conversation 
Beeka Mull asked the merchant whither he was travelling, 
and hearing the name of the village, he observed: 

'Ah, you had better be careful on that road — it's a very 
bad place for thieves.' 

The merchant turned pale at these words. It would 
be such a bitter thing, he thought, just at the end of his 
journey to be robbed of all the fortune he had heaped up 
with such care. But this bland and prosperous Beeka 
Mull must surely know best, so presently he said: 

'Lala-ji, 1 could you oblige me by locking up for me a 
small box for a short while? When once I get to my 
village I could bring back half-a-dozen sturdy men of 
my own kinsfolk and claim it again.' 

The Lala shook his head. 'I could not do it,' replied 
he. 'I am sorry; but such things are not my business. 
I should be afraid to undertake it.' 

'But,' pleaded the merchant, 'I know no one in this 
city, and you must surely have some place where you keep 
your own precious things. Do this, I pray you, as a great 

Still Beeka Mull politely but firmly refused; but the 
merchant, feeling that he had now betrayed the fact that 
he was richer than he seemed, and being loth to make 
more people aware of it by inquiring elsewhere, continued 
to press him, until at last he consented. The merchant 
produced the little box of jewels, and Beeka Mull locked 
it up for him in a strong chest with other precious stones; 

lt Lala' is a complimentary title: 'ji* a polite affix; the ex- 
pression is somewhat equivalent to ' Dear Sir/ 


and so, with many promises and compliments, they 

In a place like an Eastern bazaar, where the shops lie 
with wide open fronts, and with their goods displayed 
not only within but without on terraces and verandahs 
raised a few feet above the public roadway, such a long 
talk as that between Beeka Mull and the merchant could 
not but attract some attention from the other shop-keepers 
in the narrow street. If the merchant had but known it, 
nearly every shop-owner in that district was a thief, and 
the cleverest and biggest of all was Beeka Mull. But he 
did not know it, only he could not help feeling a little 
uneasy at having thus parted with all his wealth to a stranger. 
And so, as he wandered down the street, making a purchase 
here and there, he managed in one way and another to 
ask some questions about the honesty of Beeka Mull, and 
each rascal whom he spoke to, knowing that there was 
some good reason in the question, and hoping to get in 
return some share of the spoils, replied in praise of Beeka 
Mull as a model of all the virtues. 

In this way the merchant's fears were stilled, and, 
with a comparatively light heart, he travelled on to his 
village; and within a week or so returned to the city with 
half-a-dozen sturdy young nephews and friends whom 
he had enlisted to help him carry home his precious 

At the great market-place in the centre of the city the 
merchant left his friends, saying that he would go and 
get the box of jewels and rejoin them, to which they con- 
sented, and away he went. Arrived at the shop of Beeka 
Mull, he went up and saluted him. 

'Good-day, Lala-ji,' said he. But the Lala pretended 
not to see him. So he repeated the salutation. 'What 
do you want?' snapped Beeka Mull; 'you've said your 
"good-day" twice, why don't you tell me your busi- 
ness ? ' 

'Don't you remember me?' asked the merchant. 


'Remember you?' growled the other; 'no, why should 
I? I have plenty to do to remember good customers 
without trying to remember every beggar who comes 
whining for charity.' 

When he heard this the merchant began to tremble. 

'Lala-ji!' he cried, 'surely you remember me and the 
little box I gave you to take care of? And you promised 
— yes, indeed, you promised very kindly — that I might 
return to claim it, and ' 

'You scoundrel,' roared Beeka Mull, 'get out of my 
shop! Be off with you, you impudent scamp! Every 
one knows that I never keep treasures for anyone; I have 
trouble enough to do to keep my own! Come, off with 
you!' With that he began to push the merchant out 
of the shop; and, when the poor man resisted, two of 
the bystanders came to Beeka Mull's help, and flung the 
merchant out into the road, like a bale of goods dropped 
from a camel. Slowly he picked himself up out of the 
dust, bruised, battered, and bleeding, but feeling nothing 
of, the pain in his body, nothing but a dreadful numbing 
sensation that, after all, he was ruined and lost! Slowly 
he dragged himself a little further from where the fat and 
furious Beeka Mull still stood amongst his disordered 
silks and carpets, and coming to a friendly wall he 
crouched and leant against it, and putting his head into 
his hands gave himself up to an agony of misery and 

There he sat motionless, like one turned to stone, whilst 
darkness fell around him; and when, about eleven o'clock 
that night, a certain gay young fellow named Kooshy 
Ram passed by with a friend, he saw the merchant sitting 
hunched against the wall, and remarked: 'A thief, no 
doubt.' 'You are wrong,' returned the other, 'thieves 
don't sit in full view of people like that, even at night.' 
And so the two passed on, and thought no more of him. 
About five o'clock next morning Kooshy Ram was re- 
turning home again, when, to his astonishment, he saw 


the miserable merchant still sitting as he had seen him 
sit hours before. Surely something must be the matter 
with a man who sat all night in the open street, and Kooshy 
Ram resolved to see what it was ; so he went up and shook 
the merchant gently by the shoulder. 'Who are you?' 
asked he — 'and what are you doing here — are you 

'111?' said the merchant in a hollow voice, 'yes; ill with 
a sickness for which there is no medicine.' 

'Oh, nonsense!' cried Kooshy Ram. 'Come along with 
me, I know a medicine that will cure you, I think.' So 
the young man seized the merchant by the arm, and 
hoisting him to his feet, dragged him to his own lodging; 
where he first of all gave him a large glass of wine, and 
then, after he had refreshed him with food, bade him tell 
his adventures. 

Meanwhile the merchant's companions in the market- 
place, being dull-witted persons, thought that as he did 
not return he must have gone home by himself; and as 
soon as they were tired of waiting they went back to their 
village and left him to look after his own affairs. He 
would therefore have fared badly had it not been for his 
rescuer, Kooshy Ram, who, whilst still a boy, had been left 
a great deal of money with no one to advise him how to 
spend it. He was high-spirited, kind-hearted, and shrewd 
into the bargain; but he threw away his money like water, 
and generally upon the nearest thing or person in his way, 
and that, alas! most often was himself! Now, however, 
he had taken it into his head to befriend this miserable 
merchant, and he meant to do it; and on his side the mer- 
chant felt confidence revive, and without further ado told 
all that had happened. 

Kooshy Ram laughed heartily at the idea of any stranger 
entrusting his wealth to Beeka Mull. 

'Why, he is the greatest rascal in the city,' he cried, 
'unless you believe what some of them say of me! Well, 


there is nothing to be done for the present, but just to 
stay here quietly, and I think that at the end of a short 
time I shall find a medicine which will heal your sickness.' 
At this the merchant again took courage, and a little ease 
crept into his heart as he gratefully accepted his new friend's 

•A few days later Kooshy Ram sent for some friends 
to see him, and talked with them long, and, although the 
merchant did not hear the conversation, he did hear shouts 
of laughter as though at some good joke; but the laughter 
echoed dully in his own heart, for the more he considered 
the more he despaired of ever recovering his fortune from 
the grasp of Beeka Mull. 

One day, soon after this, Kooshy Ram came to him 
and said: 

'You remember the wall where I found you that night, 
near Beeka Mull's shop?' 

'Yes, indeed I do,' answered the merchant. 

'Well,' continued Kooshy Ram, 'this afternoon you 
must go and stand in that same spot and watch; and when 
someone gives you a signal, you must go up to Beeka 
Mull and salute him and say, "Oh, Lala-ji, will you kindly 
let me have back that box of mine which you have on 

'What's the use of that?' asked the merchant. 'He 
won't do it any more now than he would when I asked 
him before.' 

'Never mind!' replied Kooshy Ram, 'do exactly what 
I tell you, and repeat exactly what I say, word for word, 
and I will answer for the rest.' 

So, that afternoon, the merchant at a certain time went 
and stood by the wall as he was told. He noticed that 
Beeka Mull saw him, but neither took any heed of the 
other. Presently up the bazaar came a gorgeous palanquin 
like those in which ladies of rank are carried about. It 
was borne by four bearers well dressed in rich liveries, 
and its curtains and trappings were truly magnificent. 


In attendance was a grave-looking personage whom the 
merchant recognized as one of the friends who visited 
Kooshy Ram; and behind him came a servant with a box 
covered with a cloth upon his head. 

The palanquin was borne along at a smart pace and 
was set down at Beeka MulPs shop. The fat shop-keeper 
was on his feet at once, and bowed deeply as the gentleman 
in attendance advanced. 

'May I inquire,' he said, 'who this is in the palanquin 
that deigns to favour my humble shop with a visit? And 
what may I do for her?' 

The gentleman, after whispering at the curtain of the 
palanquin, explained that this was a relative of his who 
was travelling, but as her husband could go no further 
with her, she desired to leave with Beeka Mull a box of 
jewels for safe custody. Lala bowed again to the ground. 
'It was not,' he said, 'quite in his way of business; but of 
course, if he could please the lady, he would be most happy, 
and would guard the box with his life.' Then the servant 
carrying the box was called up; the box was unlocked, 
and a mass of jewellery laid open to the gaze of the en- 
raptured Lala, whose mouth watered as he turned over 
the rich gems. 

All this the merchant had watched from the distance, 
and now he saw — could he be mistaken ? — no, he dis- 
tinctly saw a hand beckoning through the curtain on 
that side of the palanquin away from the shop. 'The 
signal! Was this the signal?' thought he. The hand 
beckoned again, impatiently it seemed to him. So for- 
ward he went, very quietly, and saluting Beeka Mull, who 
was sitting turning over the contents of this amazing box 
of jewels which fortune and some fools were putting into 
his care, he said: 

'Oh, Lala-ji, will you kindly let me have back that 
box of mine which you have on trust ? ' 

The Lala looked up as though he had been stung; but 
quickly the thought flashed through his mind that if this 


man began making a fuss again he would lose the confidence 
of these new and richer customers; so he controlled himself, 
and answered: 

'Dear me, of course, yes! I had forgotten all about it.' 
And he went off and brought the little box and put it into 
the merchant's trembling hands. Quickly the latter pulled 
out the key, which hung by a string round his neck, and 
opened the box; and when he saw that his treasures were 
all there he rushed into the road, and, with the box under 
his arm, began dancing like a madman, with great shouts 
and screams of laughter. Just then a messenger came 
running up and, saluting the gentleman attending the 
palanquin, he said: 

'The lady's husband has returned, and is prepared to 
travel with her, so that there is no necessity to deposit the 
jewels.' Whereat the gentleman quickly closed and re- 
locked the box, and handed it back to the waiting servant. 
Then from the palanquin came a yell of laughter, and 
out jumped — not a lady — but Kooshy Ram, who im- 
mediately ran and joined the merchant in the middle of 
the road and danced as madly as he. Beeka Mull stood 
and stared stupidly at them; then, with a shrill cackle of 
laughter, he flung off his turban, bounced out into the 
road with the other two, and fell to dancing and snapping 
his fingers until he was out of breath. 

'Lala ji,' said the gentleman who had played the 
part of the relative attendant on the palanquin, 'why do 
you dance? The merchant dances because he has 
recovered his fortune; Kooshy Ram dances because he 
is a madman and has tricked you; but why do you 
dance ? ' 

'I dance,' panted Beeka Ram, glaring at him with a 
bloodshot eye, 'I dance because I knew thirteen different 
ways of deceiving people by pretending confidence in 
them. I didn't know there were any more, and now 
here 's a fourteenth ! That 's why I dance ! ' 

(Punjabi story, Major Campbell, Feroshepore.) 


There lived once a king and queen who had an only 
daughter, a charming and beautiful girl, dearer to them 
than anything else in the world. When the princess was 
twelve years old the queen fell sick, and nothing that could 
be done for her was of any use. All the doctors in the 
kingdom did their best to cure her, but in spite of their 
efforts she grew worse and worse. As she was about to 
die, she sent for the king and said to him: 

' Promise me that whatever our daughter asks, you will 
do, no matter whether you wish to or not.' 

The king at first hesitated, but as she added: 

' Unless you promise this I cannot die in peace,' he at 
length did as she desired, and gave the promise, after 
which she became quite happy and died. 

It happened that near the king's palace lived a noble 
lady, whose little girl was of about the same age as the 
princess, and the two children were always together. After 
the queen's death the princess begged that this lady should 
come to live with her in the palace. The king was not 
quite pleased with this arrangement, for he distrusted the 
lady; but the princess wished so much for it that he did 
not like to refuse. 

'I am lonely, father,' she said, 'and all the beautiful 
presents you give me cannot make up to me for the loss 
of my mother. If this lady comes to live here I shall 
almost feel as if the queen had come back to me.' 

So a magnificent suite of rooms was prepared and set 
aside for the new-comers, and the little princess was wild 


with joy at the thought of having her friends so near her. 
The lady and her daughter arrived, and for a long time 
all went well. They were very kind to the motherless 
princess, and she almost began to forget how dull she had 
been before they came. Then, one day, as she and the 
other girl were playing together in the gardens of the palace, 
the lady came to them, dressed for a journey, and kissed 
the princess tenderly, saying: 

'Farewell, my child; my daughter and I must leave you 
and go far away.' 

The poor princess began to cry bitterly. * Oh ! you must 
not leave me!' she sobbed. 'What shall I do without 
you? Please, oh! please stay.' 

The lady shook her head. 

'It almost breaks my heart to go, dear child,' she said, 
'but, alas! it must be.' 

'Is there nothing that can keep you here?' asked the 

'Only one thing/ answered the lady, 'and as that is 
impossible, we will not speak of it.' 

'Nothing is impossible,' persisted the princess. 'Tell 
me what it is, and it shall be done.' 

So at last her friend told her. 

'If the king, your father, would make me his queen 
I would stay,' she said; 'but that he would never do.' 

'Oh, yes! that is easy enough!' cried the princess, de- 
lighted to think that, after all, they need not be parted. 
And she ran off to find her father, and beg him to marry 
the lady at once. He had done everything she asked, and 
she was quite certain he would do it. 

'What is it, my daughter?' he asked, when he saw her. 
' You have been crying — are you not happy ? ' 

'Father,' she said, 'I have come to ask you to marry 
the countess ' — (for that was the lady's real title) — ' if 
you do not she will leave us, and then I shall be as lonely 
as before. You have never refused me what I have asked 
before, do not refuse me now.' 


The king turned quite pale when he heard this. He 
did not like the countess, and so, of course, he did not 
wish to marry her; besides, he still loved his dead wife. 

'No, that I cannot do, my child,' he said at last. 

At these words the princess began to cry once more, 
and the tears ran down her cheeks so fast, and she sobbed 
so bitterly, that her father felt quite miserable too. He 
remembered the promise he had given always to do what 
his daughter asked him and in the end he gave way, and 
promised to marry the countess. The princess at once 
was all smiles, and ran away to tell the good news. 

Soon after, the wedding was celebrated with great fes- 
tivities, and the countess became queen; but, in spite 
of all the joy and merriment that filled the palace, the 
king looked pale and sad, for he was certain that ill would 
come of the marriage. Sure enough, in a very short time 
the queen's manner towards the princess began to change. 
She was jealous of her because she, instead of her own 
daughter, was heir to the throne, and very soon she could 
no longer hide her thoughts. Instead of speaking kindly 
and lovingly as before, her words became rough and 
cruel, and once or twice she even slapped the princess's 

The king was very unhappy at seeing his dearly loved 
daughter suffer, and at last she became so wretched that 
he could no longer bear it. Calling her to him one day 
he said: 

'My daughter, you are no longer merry as you should 
be, and I fear that it is the fault of your step-mother. It 
will be better for you to live with her no longer; therefore 
1 have built you a castle on the island in the lake, and 
that is to be your home in future. There you can do just 
as you like, and your step-mother will never enter it.' 

The princess was delighted to hear this, and still more 
pleased when she saw the castle, which was full of beau- 
tiful things, and had a great number of windows looking 
out on the lovely blue water. There was a boat in which 


she might row herself about, and a garden where she 
could walk whenever she wished without fear of meeting 
the unkind queen; and the king promised to visit her 
every day. 

For a long time she dwelt in peace, and grew more and 
more beautiful every day. Everyone who saw her said 
'The princess is the loveliest lady in the land.' And this 
was told to the queen, who hated her step-daughter still 
more because her own daughter was ugly and stupid. 

One day it was announced that a great meeting of knights 
and nobles was to be held in a neighbouring kingdom 
distant about two days* journey. There were to be all 
kinds of festivities, and a tournament was to be fought 
and a banquet held, in honour of the coming of age of 
the prince of the country. 

The princess's father was amongst those invited, but 
before he set out he went to take leave of his daughter. 
Although she had such a beautiful home, and was no 
longer scolded by the queen, the poor princess was dread- 
fully lonely, and she told her father that it would be better 
if she were dead. He did his best to comfort her and 
promised that he would soon return. Was there anything 
he could do to help her? 

'Yes,' she said. 'You may greet the Green Knight 
from me.' 

Now the king wondered a little at these words, for he 
had never heard of the Green Knight; but there was no 
time to ask questions, therefore he gave the promise, and 
rode off on his journey. When he came to the palace 
where the festivities were to take place, the first thing he 
did was to ask: 

'Can anyone tell me where I may find the Green 

No, they were very sorry; but none had ever heard of 
such a person either — certainly he was not to be found 
there. At this the king grew troubled, and not even the 
banquet or the tournament could make him feel happier. 


He inquired of everyone he saw, ' Do you know the Green 
Knight?' but the only answer he got was: 

'No, your majesty, we have never heard of him.' 

At length he began to believe that the princess was 
mistaken, and that there was no such person; and he 
started on his homeward journey sorrowfully enough, for 
this was the first time for many months that the princess 
had asked him to do anything for her and he could not 
do it. He thought so much about it that he did not notice 
the direction his horse was taking, and presendy he found 
himself in the midst of a dense forest where he had never 
been before. He rode on and on, looking for the path, 
but as the sun began to set he realised that he was lost. 
At last, to his delight, he saw a man driving some pigs, 
and riding up to him, he said: 

'I have lost my way. Can you tell me where I am?' 

'You are in the Green Knight's forest/ answered the 
man, 'and these are his pigs.' 

At that the king's heart grew light. 'Where does the 
Green Knight live?' he asked. 

'It is a very long way from here,' said the swine-herd; 
'but I will show you the path.' So he went a little farther 
with the king and put him on the right road, and the king 
bade him farewell. 

Presently he came to a second forest, and there he met 
unother swineherd driving pigs. 

' Whose beasts are those, my man ? ' he asked. 

'They are the Green Knight's/ said the man. 

'And where does he live?' inquired the king. 

'Oh, not far from here,' was the reply. 

Then the king rode on, and about midday he reached 
a beautiful castle standing in the midst of the loveliest 
garden you can possibly imagine, where fountains played 
in marble basins, and peacocks walked on the smooth 
lawns. On the edge of a marble basin sat a young and 
handsome man, who was dressed from head to foot in a 


suit of green armour, and was feeding the goldfish which 
swam in the clear water. 

'This must be the Green Knight,' thought the king; 
and going up to the young man he said courteously: 

'I have come, sir, to give you my daughter's greeting. 
But I have wandered far, and lost my way in your forest.' 

The knight looked at him for a moment as though 

'I have never met either you or your daughter,' he said 
at last; 'but you are very welcome all the same.' And 
he waved his hand towards the castle. However, the 
king took no notice, and told him that his daughter had 
sent a message to the Green Knight, and as he was the 
only Green Knight in the kingdom this message must be 
for him. 

'You must pass the night with me here,' said the knight; 
and as the sun was already set, the king was thankful to 
accept the invitation. They sat down in the castle hall 
to a magnificent banquet, and although he had travelled 
much and visited many monarchs in their palaces, the 
king had never fared better than at the table of the Green 
Knight, whilst his host himself was so clever and agreeable, 
that he was delighted, and thought 'what a charming 
son-in-law this knight would make!' 

Next morning, when he was about to set forth on his 
journey home, the Green Knight put into his hand a jewelled 
casket, saying: 

'Will your highness graciously condescend to carry this 
gift to the princess, your daughter? It contains my por- 
trait, that when I come she may know me ; for I feel certain 
that she is the lady I have seen night after night in a dream, 
and I must win her for my bride.' 

The king gave the knight his blessing, and promised to 
take the gift to his daughter. With that he set off, and 
ere long reached his own country. 

The princess was awaiting him anxiously when he 


arrived, and ran to his arms in her joy at seeing her dear 
father again. 

'And did you see the Green Knight?' she asked. 

'Yes,' answered the king, drawing out the casket the 
knight had sent, 'and he begged me to give you this that 
you may know him when he arrives and not mistake him 
for somebody else.' 

When the princess saw the portrait she was delighted, 
and exclaimed: 'It is indeed the man whom I have seen 
in my dreams! Now I shall be happy, for he and no 
other shall be my husband.' 

Very soon after the Green Knight arrived, and he 
looked so handsome in his green armour, with a long 
green plume in his helmet, that the princess fell still 
more in love with him than before, and when he saw 
her, and recognised her as the lady whom he had so 
often dreamt of, he immediately asked her to be his bride. 
The princess looked down and smiled as she answered 

'We must keep the secret from my step-mother until 
the wedding-day/ said she, 'for otherwise she will find a 
way to do us some evil.' 

'As you please,' replied the prince; 'but I must visit 
you daily, for I can live no longer without you! I will 
come early in the morning and not leave until it is dark; 
thus the queen will not see me row across the lake.' 

For a long time, the Green Knight visited the princess 
every day, and spent many hours wandering with her 
through the beautiful gardens where they knew the queen 
could not see them. But secrets, as you know, are dan- 
gerous things, and at last, one morning, a girl who was in 
service at the palace happened to be walking by the lake 
early in the morning and beheld a wonderfully handsome 
young man, in a beautiful suit of green satin, come down 
to the edge of the lake. Not guessing that he was watched, 
he got into a little boat that lay moored to the bank, 
rowed himself over to the island where the princess's 



castle stood. The girl went home wondering who the 
knight could be; and as she was brushing the queen's 
hair, she said to her: 

'Does your majesty know that the princess has a 

'Nonsense!' replied the queen crossly. But she was 
dreadfully vexed at the mere idea, as her own daughter 
was still unmarried, and was likely to remain so, because 
she was so ilt-tempered and stupid that no one wanted 


'It is true/ persisted the girl. 'He is dressed all in 
green, and is very handsome. I saw him myself, though 
lie did not see me, and he got into a boat and rowed over 
to the island, and the princess was waiting for him at the 
castle door.' 

'I must find out what this means/ thought the queen. 
But she bade her maid of honour cease chattering and 
mind her own business. 

Early next morning the queen got up and went down 
to the shore of the lake, where she hid herself behind a 
tree. Sure enough there came a handsome knight dressed 
in green, just as the maid of honour had said, and he 
got into a boat and rowed over to the island where 
the princess awaited him. The angry queen remained 
by the lake all day, but it was not until the evening 
that the knight returned, and leaping on shore, he 
tied the boat to its moorings and went away through the 

'I have caught my step-daughter nicely/ thought the 
queen. 'But she shall not be married before my own 
sweet girl. I must find a way to put a stop to this/ 

Accordingly she took a poisoned nail and stuck it in 
the handle of the oar in such a way that the knight would 
be sure to scratch his hand when he picked up the oar. 
Then she went home laughing, very much pleased with 
her cleverness. 

The next day the Green Knight went to visit the princess 
as usual; but directly he took up the oars to row over to 
the island he felt a sharp scratch on his hand. 

'Oof!' he said, dropping the oars from pain, 'what can 
have scratched so?' But, look as he might, only a tiny 
mark was to be seen. 

'Well, it's strange how a nail could have come here 
since yesterday/ he thought. 'Still, it is not very serious, 
though it hurts a good deal.' And, indeed, it seemed 
such a little thing that he did not mention it to the prin- 


cess. However, when he reached home in the evening, 
he felt so ill he was obliged to go to bed, with no 
one to attend on him except his old nurse. But % of this, 
of course, the princess knew nothing; and the poor 
girl, fearing lest some evil should have befallen him, 
or some other maiden more beautiful than she should 
have stolen his heart from her, grew almost sick with 
waiting. Lonely, indeed, she was, for her father, who 
would have helped her, was travelling in a foreign country, 
and she knew not how to obtain news of her lover. 

In this manner time passed away, and one day, as she 
sat by the open window crying and feeling very sad, a 
little bird came and perched on the branch of a tree that 
stood just underneath. It began to sing, and so beautifully 
that the princess was obliged to stop crying and listen to it, 
and very soon she found out that the bird was trying to 
attract her attention. 

'Tu-whit, tu-whit I your lover is sick!' it sang. 

'Alas!' cried the princess. 'What can I do?' 

' Tu-whit, tu-whit I you must go to your father's 
palace ! ' 

' And what shall I do there ? ' she asked. 

'Tu-whit/ there you will find a snake with nine young 

'Ugh!' answered the princess with a shiver, for she did 
not like snakes. But the little bird paid no heed. 

'Put them in a basket and go to the Green Knight's 
palace,' said she. 

'And what am I to do with them when I get there?' 
she cried, blushing all over, though there was no one to 
see her but the bird. 

'Dress yourself as a kitchen-maid and ask for a place. 
Tu-whit/ Then you must make soup out of the snakes. 
Give it three times to the knight and he will be cured. 
Tu-whit/ 9 


'But what has made him ill?' asked the princess. The 
bird, however, had flown away, and there was nothing 
for it but to go to her father's palace and look for the 
snakes. When she came there she found the mother 
snake with the nine little snakes all curled up so that you 
could hardly tell their heads from their tails. The princess 
did not like having to touch them, but when the old snake 
had wriggled out of the nest to bask a little in the sun, 
she picked up the young ones and put them in a basket 
as the bird had told her, and ran off to find the Green 
Knight's castle. All day she walked along, sometimes 
stopping to pick the wild berries, or to gather a nosegay; 
but though she rested now and then, she would not lie 
down to sleep before she reached the castle. At last she 
came in sight of it, and just then she met a girl driving a 
flock of geese. 

'Good-day!' said the princess; 'can you tell me if this 
is the castle of the Green Knight?' 

'Yes, that it is,' answered the goose girl, 'for I am driving 
his geese. But the Green Knight is very ill, and they say 
that unless he can be cured within three days he will surely 

At this news the princess grew as white as death. The 
ground seemed to spin round, and she closed her hand 
tight on a bush that was standing beside her. By-and-by, 
with a great effort, she recovered herself and said to the 
goose girl: 

'Would you like to have a fine silk dress to wear?' 

The goose girl's eyes glistened. 

'Yes, that I would!' answered she. 

'Then take off your dress and give it to me, and I will 
give you mine,' said the princess. 

The girl could scarcely believe her ears, but the princess 
was already unfastening her beautiful silk dress, and 
taking off her silk stockings and pretty red shoes; and the 
goose girl lost no time in slipping out of her rough linen 
skirt and tunic. Then the princess put on the other's 

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rags and let down her hair, and went to the kitchen to ask 
for a place. 

'Do you want a kitchen-maid?' she said. 

'Yes, we do,' answered the cook, who was too busy to 
ask the new-comer many questions. 

The following day, after a good night's rest, the princess 
set about her new duties. The other servants were speak- 
ing of their master, and saying to each other how ill he 
was, and that unless he could be cured within three days 
he would surely die. 

The princess thought of the snakes, and the bird's advice, 
and lifting her head from the pots and pans she was scouring, 
she said: 'I know how to make a soup that has such a 
wonderful power that whoever tastes it is sure to be cured, 
whatever his illness may be. As the doctors cannot cure 
your master shall I try?' 

At first they all laughed at her. 

' What! a scullion cure the knight when the best physicians 
in the kingdom have failed?' 

But at last, just because all the physicians had failed, 
they decided that it would do no harm to try; and she ran 
off joyfully to fetch her basket of snakes and make them 
into broth. When this was ready she carried some to the 
knight's room and entered it boldly, pushing aside all the 
learned doctors who stood beside his bed. The poor 
knight was too ill to know her, besides, she was so ragged 
and dirty that he would not have been likely to do so had 
he been well; but when he had taken the soup he was so 
much better that he was able to sit up. 

The next day he had some more, and then he was able 
to dress himself. 

'That is certainly wonderful soup!' said the cook. 

The third day, after he had eaten his soup, the knight 
was quite well again. 

'Who are you?' he asked the girl; 'was it you who made 
this soup that has cured me?' 

'Yes,' answered the princess. 


'Choose, then, whatever you wish as a reward,' said 
the knight, 'and you shall have it.' 

'I would be your bride !' said the princess. 

The knight frowned in surprise at such boldness, and 
shook his head. 

'That is the one thing I cannot grant/ he said, 'for I 
am pledged to marry the most beautiful princess in the 
world. Choose again.' 

Then the princess ran away and washed herself and 
mended her rags, and when she returned the Green Knight 
recognised her at once. 

You can think what a joyful meeting that was! 

Soon after, they were married with great splendour. 
All the knights and princes in the kingdom were sum- 
moned to the wedding, and the princess wore a dress that 
shone like the sun, so that no one had ever beheld a more 
gorgeous sight. The princess's father, of course, was 
present, but the wicked queen and her daughter were 
driven out of the country, and as nobody has seen them 
since, very likely they were eaten by wild beasts in the 
forest. But the bride and bridegroom were so happy that 
they forgot ail about them, and they lived with the old 
king till he died, when they succeeded him. 

(From " EverUyr fra Jylland" samlede og optegnede a) Evald Tang Kristenscn. 
Translated from the Danish by Mrs. Skovgaard-Pedersen.) 



Once there lived a handsome young man named Ram 
Singh, who, though, a favourite with everyone, was un- 
happy because he had a scold for a step-mother. All 
day long she went on talking, until the youth was driven 
so distracted that he determined to go away somewhere 
and seek his fortune. No sooner had he decided to leave 
his home than he made his plans, and the very next morning 
he started off with a few clothes in a wallet, and a little 
money in his pocket. 

But there was one person in the village to whom he 
wished to say good-bye, and that was a wise old guru, or 
teacher, who had taught him much. So he turned his 
face first of all towards his master's hut, and before the 
sun was well up was knocking at his door. The old 
man received his pupil affectionately; but he was wise 
in reading faces, and saw at once that the youth was in 

'My son,' said he, 'what is the matter?' 

'Nothing, father,' replied the young man, 'but I have 
determined to go into the world and seek my fortune.' 

'Be advised,' returned the guru, 'and remain in your 
father's house; it is better to have half a loaf at home than 
to seek a whole one in distant countries.' 

But Ram Singh was in no mood to heed such advice, 
and very soon the old man ceased to press him. 

'Well,' said he at last, 'if your mind is made up I sup- 
pose you must have your way. But listen carefully, and 

1 A Hindu religious teacher or saint; in this case a Sikh. 


remember five parting counsels which I will give you; 
and if you keep these no evil shall befall you. First — 
always obey without question the orders of him whose 
service you enter; second — never speak harshly or un- 
kindly to anyone; third — never lie; fourth — never try 
to appear the equal of those above you in station; and 
fifth — wherever you go, if you meet those who read 
or teach from the holy books, stay and listen, if but for a 
few minutes, that you may be strengthened in the path 
of duty.' 

Then Ram Singh started out upon his journey, promising 
to bear in mind the old man's words. 

After some days he came to a great city. He had spent 
all the money which he had at starting, and therefore 
resolved to look for work however humble it might be. 
Catching sight of a prosperous-looking merchant standing 
in front of a shop full of grain of all kinds, Ram Singh 
went up to him and asked whether he could give him 
anything to do. The merchant gazed at him so long 
that the young man began to lose heart, but at length he 

'Yes, of course; there is a place waiting for you.' 

* What do you mean ? ' asked Ram Singh. 

'Why/ replied the other, 'yesterday our rajah's chief 
wazir dismissed his body servant and is wanting another. 
Now you are just the sort of person that he needs, for you 
are young and tall, and handsome; I advise you to apply 

Thanking the merchant for this advice, the young man 
set out at once for the wazir's house, and soon managed, 
thanks to his good looks and appearance, to be engaged 
as the great man's servant. 

One day, soon after this, the rajah of the place started 
on a journey and the chief wazir accompanied him. With 
them was an army of servants and attendants, soldiers, 
muleteers, camel-drivers, merchants with grain and stores 
for man and beast, singers to make entertainment by 


the way and musicians to accompany them, besides ele- 
phants, camels, horses, mules, ponies, donkeys, goats, and 
carts and wagons of every kind and description, so that it 
seemed more like a large town on the march than anything 

Thus they travelled for several days, till they entered 
a country that was like a sea of sand, where the swirling 
dust floated in clouds, and men and beasts were half 
choked by it. Towards the close of that day they came 
to a village, and when the headmen hurried out to salute 
the rajah and to pay him their respects, they began, with 
very long and serious faces, to explain that, whilst they 
and all that they had were of course at the disposal of 
the rajah, the coming of so large a company had never- 
theless put them into a dreadful difficulty because they 
had never a well nor spring of water in their country; and 
they had no water to give drink to such an army of men 
and beasts! 

Great fear fell upon the host at the words of the head- 
men, but the rajah merely told the wazir that he must 
get water somehow, and that settled the matter so far as 
he was concerned. The wazir sent off in haste for all 
the oldest men in the place, and began to question them 
as to whether there were no wells near by. 

They all looked helplessly at each other, and said nothing; 
but at length one old grey-beard replied: 

* Truly, Sir Wazir, there is, within a mile or two of this 
village, a well which some former king made hundreds of 
years ago. It is, they say, great and inexhaustible, covered 
in by heavy stone-work and with a flight of steps leading 
down to the water in the very bowels of the earth; but no 
man ever goes near it because it is haunted by evil spirits, 
and it is known that whoso disappears down the well shall 
never be seen again.' 

The wazir stroked his beard and considered a moment. 
Then he turned to Ram Singh who stood behind his 


'There is a proverb,' said he, 'that no man can be trusted 
until he has been tried. Go you and get the rajah and 
his people water from this well.' 

Then there flashed into Ram Singh's mind the first 
counsel of the old guru — 'Always obey without question 
the orders of him whose service you enter.' So he replied 
at once that he was ready, and left to prepare for his ad- 
venture. Two great brazen vessels he fastened to a mule, 
two lesser ones he bound upon his shoulders, and thus 
provided he set out, with the old villager for his guide. 
In a short time they came to a spot where some big trees 
towered above the barren country, whilst under their 
shadow lay the dome of an ancient building. This the 
guide pointed out as the well, but excused himself from 
going further as he was an old man and tired, and it was 
already nearly sunset, so that he must be returning home. 
So Ram Singh bade him farewell, and went on alone with 
the mule. 

Arrived at the trees, Ram Singh tied up his beast, 
lifted the vessels from his shoulder, and having found 
the opening of the well, descended by a flight of steps 
which led down into the darkness. The steps were broad 
white slabs of alabaster which gleamed in the shadows 
as he went lower and lower. All was very silent. Even 
the sound of his bare feet upon the pavements seemed 
to wake an echo in that lonely place, and when one of 
the vessels which he carried slipped and fell upon the 
steps it clanged so loudly that he jumped at the noise. 
Still he went on, until at last he reached a wide 
pool of sweet water, and there he washed his jars with 
care before he filled them, and began to remount the steps 
with the lighter vessels, as the big ones were so heavy he 
could only take up one at a time. Suddenly, something 
moved above him, and looking up he saw a great giant 
standing on the stairway! In one hand he held clasped 
to his heart a dreadful looking mass of bones, in the other 
was a lamp which cast long shadows about the walls, 


and made him seem even more terrible than he really 

'What think you, O mortal,' said the giant, 'of my fair 
and lovely wife ? ' And he held the light towards the bones 
in his arms and looked lovingly at them. 

Now I must tell you that this poor giant had had a 
very beautiful wife, whom he had loved dearly; but, when 
she died, her husband refused to believe in her death, and 
always carried her about long after she had become nothing 
but bones. Ram Singh of course did not know of this, 
but there came to his mind the second wise saying of the 
guru, which forbade him to speak harshly or inconsiderately 
to others; so he replied: 

'Truly, sir, I am sure you could find nowhere such 
another. ' 

'Ah, what eyes you have!' cried the delighted giant, 
'you at least can see! I do not know how often I have 
slain those who insulted her by saying she was but dried 
bones! You are a fine young man, and I will help you.' 

So saying, he laid down the bones with great tenderness, 
and snatching up the huge brass vessels, carried them up 
again, and replaced them with such ease that it was all 
done by the time that Ram Singh had reached the open 
air with the smaller ones. 

'Now,' said the giant, 'you have pleased me, and you 
may ask of me one favour, and whatever you wish I will 
do it for you. Perhaps you would like me to show you 
where lies buried the treasure of dead kings?' he added 

But Ram Singh shook his head at the mention of buried 

'The favour that I would ask,' said he, 'is that you 
will leave off haunting this well, so that men may go in 
and out and obtain water.' 

Perhaps the giant expected some favour more difficult to 
grant, for his face brightened, and he promised to depart 
at once; and as Ram Singh went off through the gathering 


darkness with his precious burden of water, he beheld the 
giant striding away with the bones of his dead wife in his 

Great was the wonder and rejoicing in the camp when 
Ram Singh returned with the water. He never said any- 
thing, however, about his adventure with the giant, but 
merely told the rajah that there was nothing to prevent 
the well being used; and used it was, and nobody ever 
saw any more of the giant. 

The rajah was so pleased with the bearing of Ram 
Singh that he ordered the wazir to give the young man 
to him in exchange for one of his own servants. So Ram 
Singh became the rajah's attendant; and as the days 
went by the king became more and more delighted with 
the youth because, mindful of the old guru's third counsel, 
he was always honest and spoke the truth. He grew 
in favour rapidly, until at last the rajah made him his 
treasurer, and thus he reached a high place in the court 
and had wealth and power in his hands. Unluckily 
the rajah had a brother who was a very bad man; and 
this brother thought that if he could win the young 
treasurer over to himself he might by this means manage 
to steal little by little any of the king's treasure which 
he needed. Then, with plenty of money, he could 
bribe the soldiers and some of the rajah's counsellors, 
head a rebellion, dethrone and kill his brother, and reign 
himself instead. He was too wary, of course, to tell 
Ram Singh of all these wicked plans; but he began by 
flattering him whenever he saw him, and at last offered 
him his daughter in marriage. But Ram Singh remem- 
bered the fourth counsel of the old guru — never to try 
to appear the equal of those above him in station — there- 
fore he respectfully declined the great honour of marrying 
a princess. Of course the prince, baffled at the very 
beginning of his enterprise, was furious, and determined 
to work Ram Singh's ruin, and entering the rajah's pres- 
ence he told him a story about Ram Singh having spoken 


insulting words of his sovereign and of his daughter. 
What it was all about nobody knew, and, as it was 
not true, the wicked prince did not know either; but 
the rajah grew very angry and red in the face as he 
listened, and declared that until the treasurer's head was 
cut off neither he nor the princess nor his brother would 
eat or drink. 

'But/ added he, 'I do not wish any one to know that 
this was done by my desire, and anyone who mentions 
the subject will be severely punished.' And with this the 
prince was forced to be content. 

Then the rajah sent for an officer of his guard, and 
told him to take some soldiers and ride at once to a tower 
which was situated just outside the town, and if anyone 
should come to inquire when the building was going to 
be finished, or should ask any other questions about it, 
the officer must chop his head off, and bring it to him. 
As for the body, that could be buried on the spot. The 
old officer thought these instructions rather odd, but it 
was no business of his, so he saluted, and went off to do 
his master's bidding. 

Early in the morning the rajah, who had not slept all 
night, sent for Ram Singh, and bade him go to the new 
hunting-tower, and ask the people there how it was getting 
on and when it was going to be finished, and to hurry 
back with the answer! Away went Ram Singh upon his 
errand, but, on the road, as he was passing a little 
temple on the outskirts of the city, he heard someone 
inside reading aloud; and, remembering the guru's fifth 
counsel, he just stepped inside and sat down to listen 
for a minute. He did not mean to stay longer, but be- 
came so deeply interested in the wisdom of the teacher, 
that he sat, and sat, and sat, while the sun rose higher 
and higher. 

In the meantime, the wicked prince, who dared not 
disobey the rajah's command, was feeling very hungry; 
and as for the princess, she was quietly crying in a corner 


waiting for the news of Ram Singh's death, so that she 
might eat her breakfast. 

Hours passed, and stare as he might from the window 
no messenger could be seen. 

At last the prince could bear it no longer, and hastily 
disguising himself so that no one should recognise him, 
he jumped on a horse and galloped out to the hunting- 
tower, where the rajah had told him that the execution 
was to take place. But, when he got there, there was no 
execution going on. There were only some men engaged 
in building, and a number of soldiers idly watching them. 
He forgot that he had disguised himself and that no one 
would know him, so, riding up, he cried out: 

'Now then, you men, why are you idling about here 
instead of finishing what you came to do? When is it to 
be done?' 

At his words the soldiers looked at the commanding 
officer, who was standing a little apart from the rest. 
Unperceived by the prince he made a slight sign, a sword 
flashed in the sun, and off flew a head on the ground 

As part of the prince's disguise had been a thick beard, 
the men did not recognise the dead man as the rajah's 
brother; but they wrapped the head in a cloth, and buried 
the body as their commander bade them. When this was 
ended, the officer took the cloth, and rode off in the direction 
of the palace. 

Meanwhile the rajah came home from his council, 
and to his great surprise found neither head nor brother 
awaiting him; as time passed on, he became uneasy, 
and thought that he had better go himself and see what 
the matter was. So ordering his horse he rode off 

It happened that, just as the rajah came near to the 
temple where Ram Singh still sat, the young treasurer, 
hearing the sound of a horse's hoofs, looked over his 
shoulder and saw that the rider was the rajah himself! 


Feeling much ashamed of himself for having forgotten 
his errand, he jumped up and hurried out to meet his 
master, who reined up his horse, and seemed very sur- 
prised (as indeed he was) to see him. At that moment 
there arrived the officer of the guard carrying his parcel. 
He saluted the rajah gravely, and, dismounting, laid the 
bundle in the road and began to undo the wrappings, 
whilst the rajah watched him with wonder and interest. 
When the last string was undone, and the head of his 
brother was displayed to his view, the rajah sprang from 
his horse and caught the soldier by the arm. As soon 
as he could speak he questioned the man as to what had 
occurred, and little by little a dark suspicion darted through 
him. Then, briefly telling the soldier that he had done 
well, the rajah drew Ram Singh to one side, and in a few 
minutes learned from him how, in attending to the guru's 
counsel, he had delayed to do the king's message. 

In the end the rajah found from some papers the proofs 
of his dead brother's treachery; and Ram Singh established 
his innocence and integrity. He continued to serve the 
rajah for many years with unswerving fidelity; and married 
a maiden of his own rank in life, with whom he lived hap- 
pily; dying at last honoured and loved by all men. Sons 
were born to him; and, in time, to them also he taught 
the five wise sayings of the old guru. 

(A Punj&bi story.) 



Once upon a time there lived in Egypt a king who lost 
his sight from a bad illness. Of course he was very un- 
happy, and became more so as months passed, and all 
the best doctors in the land were unable to cure him. 
The poor man grew so thin from misery that everyone 
thought he was going to die, and the prince, his only son, 
thought so too. 

Great was therefore the rejoicing through Egypt when 
a traveller arrived in a boat down the river Nile, and after 
questioning the people as to the reason of their downcast 
looks, declared that he was court physician to the king 
of a far country, and would, if allowed, examine the eyes 
of the blind man. He was at once admitted into the 
royal presence, and after a few minutes of careful study 
announced that the case, though very serious, was not 
quite hopeless. 

' Somewhere in the Great Sea,' he said, ' there exists a 
Golden-headed Fish. If you can manage to catch this 
creature, bring it to me, and I will prepare an ointment 
from its blood which will restore your sight. For a hun- 
dred days I will wait here, but if at the end of that time 
the fish should still be uncaught I must return to my 
own master. ' 

The next morning the young prince set forth in quest 
of the fish, taking with him a hundred men, each 
man carrying a net. Quite a little fleet of boats was 
awaiting them and in these they sailed to the middle of 
the Great Sea. During three months they laboured 


diligently from sunrise to sunset, but though they caught 
large multitudes of fishes, not one of them had a golden 

'It is quite useless now,' said the prince on the very 
last night. 'Even if we find it this evening, the hun- 
dred days will be over in an hour, and long before we 
could reach the Egyptian capital the doctor will be 
on his way home. Still, I will go out again, and cast 
the net once more myself.' And so he did, and at the 
very moment that the hundred days were up, he drew in 
the net with the Golden-headed Fish entangled in its 

'Success has come, but, as happens often, it is too late/ 
murmured the young man, who had studied in the schools 
of philosophy; 'but, all the same, put the fish in that vessel 
full of water, and we will take it back to show my father 
that we have done what we could.' But when he drew 
near the fish it looked up at him with such piteous eyes 
that he could not make up his mind to condemn it to death. 
For he knew well that, though the doctors of his own 
country were ignorant of the secret of the ointment, they 
would do all in their power to extract something from 
the fish's blood. So he picked up the prize of so much 
labour, and threw it back into the sea, and then began 
his journey back to the palace. When at last he reached 
it he found the king in a high fever, caused by his disap- 
pointment, and he refused to believe the story tojd him by 
his son. 

'Your head shall pay for it! Your head shall pay for 
it!' cried he; and bade the courtiers instantly summon 
the executioner to the palace. 

But of course somebody ran at once to the queen, and 
told her of the king's order, and she put common clothes 
on the prince, and filled his pockets with gold, and hurried 
him on board a ship which was sailing that night for a 
distant island. 

'Your father will repent some day, and then he will 


be thankful to know you are alive,' said she. 'But one 
last counsel will I give you, and that is, take no man into 
your service who desires to be paid every month.' 

The young prince thought this advice rather odd. If 
the servant had to be paid anyhow, he did not understand 
what difference it could make whether it was bv the vear 
or by the month. However, he had many times proved 
that his mother was wiser than he, so he promised obe- 

After a voyage of several weeks, he arrived at the island 
of which his mother had spoken. It was full of hills 
and woods and flowers, and beautiful white houses stood 
everywhere in gardens. 

'What a charming spot to live in,' thought the prince. 
And he lost no time in buying one of the prettiest of the 

Then servants came pressing to offer their services; but 
as they all declared that they must have payment at the 
end of even- month, the young man, who remembered 
his mother's words, declined to have anything to say to 
them. At length, one morning, an Arab appeared and 
begged that the prince would engage him. 

'And what wages do you ask?' inquired the prince, 
when he had questioned the new-comer and found him 

'I do not want money,' answered the Arab; 'at the end 
of a vear vou can see what mv services are worth to vou, 
and can pay me in any way you like.' And the young 
man was pleased, and took the Arab for his servant. 

Now, although no one would have guessed it from the 
look of the side of the island where the prince had landed, 
the other part was a complete desert, owing to the ravages 
of a horrible monster which came up from the sea, and 
devoured all the corn and cattle. The governor had sent 
bands of soldiers to lie in wait for the creature in order 
to kill it; but, somehow, no one ever happened to be awake 


at the moment that the ravages were committed. It was 
in vain that the sleepy soldiers were always punished 
severely — the same thing invariably occurred next time; 
and at last heralds were sent throughout the island 
to offer a great reward to the man who could slay 
the monster. 

As soon as the Arab heard the news, he went straight 
to the governor's palace. 

'If my master can succeed in killing the monster, 
what reward will you give him ? ' asked he. 

'My daughter and anything besides that he chooses,' 
answered the governor. But the Arab shook his head. 

'Give him your daughter and keep your wealth,' said 
he; 'but, henceforward, let her share in your gains, whatever 
they are.' 

'It is well,' replied the governor; and ordered a deed to 
be prepared, which was signed by both of them. 

That night the Arab stole down to the shore to watch, 
but, before he set out, he rubbed himself all over with 
some oil which made his skin smart so badly that there 
was no chance of his going to sleep as the soldiers had 
done. Then he hid himself behind a large rock and 
waited. By-and-by a swell seemed to rise on the water, 
and, a few minutes later, a hideous monster — part bird, 
part beast, and part serpent — stepped noiselessly on to 
the rocks. It walked stealthily up towards the fields, but 
the Arab was ready for it, and, as it passed, plunged his 
dagger into the soft part behind the ear. The creature 
staggered and gave a loud cry, and then rolled over dead, 
with its feet in the sea. 

The Arab watched for a little while, in order to make 
sure that there was no life left in his enemy, but as the 
huge body remained quite still, he quitted his hiding- 
place, and cut off the ears of his foe. These he carried 
to his master, bidding him show them to the governor, 
and declare that he himself, and no other, had killed the 


'But it was you, and not I, who slew him,' objected 
the prince. 

'Never mind; do as I bid you. I have a reason for it,' 
answered the Arab. And though the young man did not 
like taking credit for what he had never done, at length 
he gave in. 

The governor was so delighted at the news that he begged 
the prince to take his daughter to wife that very day; but 
the prince refused, saying that all he desired was a ship 
which would carry him to see the world. Of course this 
was granted him at once, and when he and his faithful 
Arab embarked they found, heaped up in the vessel, stores 
of diamonds and precious stones, which the grateful gover- 
nor had secretly placed there. 

So they sailed, and they sailed, and they sailed; and 
at length they reached the shores of a great kingdom. 
Leaving the prince on board, the Arab went into the 
town to find out what sort of a place it was. After 
some hours he returned, saying that he heard that the 
king's daughter was the most beautiful princess in the 
world, and that the prince would do well to ask for her 

Nothing loth, the prince listened to this advice, and 
taking some of the finest necklaces in his hand, he mounted 
a splendid horse which the Arab had bought for him, 
and rode up to the palace, closely followed by his faithful 

The strange king happened to be in a good humour, 
and they were readily admitted to his presence. Laying 
down his offerings on the steps of the throne, he prayed 
the king to grant him his daughter in marriage. 

The monarch listened to him in silence; but answered, 
after a pause: 

'Young man, I will give you my daughter to wife, if 
that is your wish; but first I must tell you that she has 
already gone through the marriage ceremony with a 
hundred and ninety young men, and not one of them 


lived for twelve hours after. So think, while there is yet 

The prince did think, and was so frightened that he 
very nearly went back to his ship without any more words. 
But just as he was about to withdraw his proposal the 
Arab whispered: 

'Fear nothing, but take her.' 

'The luck must change some time,' he said, at last; 
'and who would not risk his head for the hand of such a 
peerless princess?' 

'As you will,' replied the king. 'Then I will give orders 
that the marriage shall be celebrated to-night.' 

And so it was done; and after the ceremony the bride 
and bridegroom retired to their own apartments to sup 
by themselves, for such was the custom of the country. 
The moon shone bright, and the prince walked to the 
window to look out upon the river and upon the distant 
hills, when his gaze suddenly fell on a silken shroud 
neatly laid out on a couch, with his name embroidered in 
gold thread across the front; for this also was the pleasure 
of the king. 

Horrified at the spectacle, he turned his head away, 
and this time his glance rested on a group of men, digging 
busily beneath the window. It was a strange hour for 
any one to be at work, and what was the hole for? It 

was a curious shape, so long and narrow, almost like 

Ah! yes, that was what it was! It was his grave that they 
were digging! 

'The shock of the discovery rendered him speechless, 
vet he stood fascinated and unable to move. At this 
moment a small black snake darted from the mouth of 
the princess, who was seated at the table, and wriggled 
quickly towards him. But the Arab was watching for 
something of the sort to happen, and seizing the serpent 
with some pincers that he held in one hand, he cut off 
its head with a sharp dagger. 

The king could hardly believe his eyes when, early 


the next morning, his new son-in-law craved an audience 
of his Majesty. 

' What, you ? ' he cried, as the young man entered. 

'Yes, I. Why not?* asked the bridegroom, who thought 
it best to pretend not to know anything that had occurred. 
'You remember, I told you that the luck must turn 
at last, and so it has. But I came to ask whether 
you would be so kind as to bid the gardeners fill up a 
great hole right underneath my window, which spoils 
the view.' 

'Oh! certainly, yes; of course it shall be done!* stam- 
mered the king. ' Is there anything else ? ' 

'No, nothing, thank you/ replied the prince, as he bowed 
and withdrew. 

Now, from the moment that the Arab cut off the snake's 
head, the spell, or whatever it was, seemed to have been 
taken off the princess, and she lived very happily with 
her husband. The days passed swiftly in hunting in the 
forests, or sailing on the broad river that flowed past the 
palace, and when night fell she would sing to her harp, or 
the prince would tell her tales of his own country. 

One evening a man in a strange garb, with a face 
burnt brown by the sun, arrived at court. He asked to 
see the bridegroom, and falling on his face announced 
that he was a messenger sent by the queen of Egypt, 
proclaiming him king in succession to his father, who 
was dead. 

'Her Majesty begs you will set out without delay, and 
your bride also, as the affairs of the kingdom are somewhat 
in disorder/ ended the messenger. 

Then the young man hastened to seek an audience of 
his father-in-law, who was delighted to find that his daugh- 
ter's husband was not merely the governor of a province, 
as he had supposed, but the king of a powerful country. 
He at once ordered a splendid ship to be made ready, 
and in a week's time rode down to the harbour, to bid 
farewell to the young couple. 


In spite of her grief for the dead king, the queen was 
overjoyed to welcome her son home, and commanded the 
palace to be hung with splendid stuffs to do honour to 
the bride. The people expected great things from their 
new sovereign, for they had suffered much from the harsh 
rule of the old one, and crowds presented themselves 
every morning with petitions in their hands, which they 
hoped to persuade the king to grant. Truly, he had 
enough to keep him busy; but he was very happy for all 
that, till, one night, the Arab came to him, and begged 
permission to return to his own land. 

Filled with dismay the young man said: ' Leave me! 
Do you really wish to leave me?' Sadly the Arab 
bowed his head. 

'No, my master; never could I wish to leave you! 
But I have received a summons, and I dare not disobey 

The king was silent, trying to choke down the grief he 
felt at the thought of losing his faithful servant. 

'Well, I must not try to keep you,' he faltered out at 
last. 'That would be a poor return for all that you have 
done for me! Everything I have is yours; take what 
you will, for without you I should long ago have been 

'And without you, I should long ago have been dead/ 
answered the Arab. '/ am the Golden-headed Fish.' 

(Adapted from Centes Arminiens. Par Fr£de*ric Macler, Paris. Ernest Leroux 



Once upon a time there lived in a city of Hindustan a 
seller of scents and essences, who had a very beautiful 
daughter named Dorani. This maiden had a friend who 
was a fairy, and the two were high in favour with Indra, 
the king of fairyland, because they were able to sing so 
sweetly and dance so deftly that no one in the kingdom 
could equal them for grace and beauty. Dorani had the 
most lovely hair in the world, for it was like spun gold, 
and the smell of it was like the smell of fresh roses. But 
her locks were so long and thick that the weight of it was 
often unbearable, and one day she cut off a shining tress, 
and wrapping it in a large leaf, threw it in the river which 
ran just below her window. Now it happened that the 
king's son was out hunting, and had gone down to the 
river to drink, when there floated towards him a folded 
leaf, from which came a perfume of roses. The prince, 
with idle curiosity, took a step into the water and caught 
the leaf as it was sailing by. He opened it, and within 
he found a lock of hair like spun gold, and from which 
came a faint, exquisite odour. 

When the prince reached home that day he looked so 
sad and was so quiet that his father wondered if any ill 
had befallen him, and asked what was the matter. Then 
the youth took from his breast the tress of hair which 
he had found in the river, and holding it up to the light, 

'Sec, my father, was ever hair like this? Unless I 
mav win and marrv the maiden that owns that lock I 
must die!' 

:« nti/tr- (.euttt. fumund-e /icr ti> Say. i* ■aii^ie, Uorti, 


So the king immediately sent heralds throughout all 
his dominions to search for the damsel with hair like spun 
gold; and at last he learned that she was the daughter 
of the scent-seller. The object of the herald's mission was 
quickly noised abroad, and Dorani heard of it with the 
rest; and, one day, she said to her father: 

' If the hair is mine, and the king requires me to marry 
his son, I must do so; but, remember, you must tell him 
that if, after the wedding, I stay all day at the palace, 
every night will be spent in my old home.' 

The old man listened to her with amazement, but 
answered nothing, as he knew she was wiser than he. 
Of course the hair was Dorani 's, and heralds soon 
returned and informed the king, their master, who sum- 
moned the scent-seller, and told him that he wished for 
his daughter to be given in marriage to the prince. The 
father bowed his head three times to the ground, and 

' Your highness is our lord, and all that you bid us we 
will do. The maiden asks this only — that if, after the 
wedding, she stays all day at the palace, she may go back 
each night to her father's house. ' 

The king thought this a very strange request; but said 
to himself it was, after all, his son's affair, and the girl 
would surely soon get tired of going to and fro. So he 
made no difficulty, and everything was speedily arranged 
and the wedding was celebrated with great rejoicings. 

At first, the condition attaching to his wedding with 
the lovely Dorani troubled the prince very little, for he 
thought that he would at least see his bride all day. But, 
to his dismay, he found that she would do nothing but sit 
the whole time upon a stool with her head bowed forward 
upon her knees, and he could never persuade her to say 
a single word. Each evening she was carried in a palan- 
quin to her father's house, and each morning she was 
brought back soon after daybreak; and yet never a sound 


passed her lips, nor did she show by any sign that she 
saw, or heard, or heeded her husband. 

One evening the prince, very unhappy and troubled, 
was wandering in an old and beautiful garden near the 
palace. The gardener was a very aged man, who had 
served the prince's great grandfather; and when he saw the 
prince he came and bowed himself to him, and said: 

'Child! child! why do you look so sad — is aught the 
matter?' Then the prince replied, 'I am sad, old friend, 
because I have married a wife as lovely as the stars, but 
she will not speak to me, and I know not what to do. 
Night after night she leaves me for her father's house, 
and day after day she sits in mine as though turned to 
stone, and utters no word, whatever I may do or say.' 

The old man stood thinking for a moment, and then 
he hobbled off to his own cottage. A little later he came 
back to the prince with five or six small packets, which 
he placed in his hands and said: 

1 To-morrow, when your bride leaves the palace, 
sprinkle the powder from one of these packets upon your 
body, and while seeing clearly, you will become yourself 
invisible. More I cannot do for you, but may all go 

And the prince thanked him, and put the packets care- 
fully away in his turban. 

The next night, when Dorani left for her father's house ' 
in her palanquin, the prince took out a packet of the magic 
powder and sprinkled it over himself, and then hurried 
after her. He soon found that, as the old man had prom- 
ised, he was invisible to everyone, although he felt as 
usual, and could see all that passed. He speedily overtook 
the palanquin and walked beside it to the scent-seller's 
dwelling. There it was set down, and, when his bride, 
closely veiled, left it and entered the house, he, too, entered 

At the first door Dorani removed one veil; then she 
entered another doorway at the end of a passage where 

DO RAN I 193 

she removed another veil; next she mounted the stairs, 
and at the door of the women's quarters removed a third 
veil. After this she proceeded to her own room where 
were set two large basins, one of attar of roses and one 
of water; in these she washed herself, and afterwards 
called for food. A servant brought her a bowl of curds, 
which she ate hastily, and then arrayed herself in a robe 
of silver, and wound about her strings of pearls, while a 
wreath of roses crowned her hair. When fully dressed, 
she seated herself upon a four-legged stool over which 
was a canopy with silken curtains, these she drew around 
her, and then called out: 

'Fly, stool, to the palace of rajah Indra.' 

Instantly the stool rose in the air, and the invisible' 
prince, who had watched all these proceedings with great 
wonder, seized it by one leg as it flew away, and found 
himself being borne through the air at a rapid rate. 

In a short while they arrived at the house of the fairy 
who, as I told you before, was the favourite friend of Dorani. 
The fairy stood waiting on the threshold, as beautifully 
dressed as Dorani herself was, and when the stool stopped 
at her door she cried in astonishment: 

'Why, the stool is flying all crooked to-day! What 
is the reason of that, I wonder? I suspect that you 
have been talking to your husband, and so it will not fly 

But Dorani declared that she had not spoken one word 
to him, and she couldn't think why the stool flew as if 
weighed down at one side. The fairy still looked doubtful, 
but made no answer, and took her seat beside Dorani, 
the prince again holding tightly one leg. Then the stool 
flew on through the air until it came to the palace of Indra 
the rajah. 

All through the night the women sang and danced 
before the rajah Indra, whilst a magic lute played of itself 
the most bewitching music ; till the prince, who sat watching 
it all, was quite entranced. Just before dawn the rajah 




gave the signal to cease; and again the two women seated 
themselves on the stool, and, with the prince clinging to 
the leg, it flew back to earth, and bore Dorani and her 
husband safely to the scent -seller's shop. Here the prince 


hurried away by himself past Dorani's palanquin with 
its sleepy bearers, straight on to the palace; and, as he 
passed the threshold of his own rooms he became visible 
again. Then he lay down upon a couch and waited for 
Dorani's arrival. 


As soon as she arrived she took a seat and remained 
as silent as usual, with her head bowed on her knees. 
For a while not a sound was heard, but presently the prince 

'I dreamed a curious dream last night, and as it was 
all about you I am going to tell it you, although you heed 

The girl, indeed, took no notice of his words, but in 
spite of that he proceeded to relate every single thing 
that had happened the evening before, leaving out no 
detail of all that he had seen or heard. And when he 
praised her singing — and his voice shook a little — Dorani 
just looked at him; but she said naught, though, in her 
own mind, she was filled with wonder. 'What a dream!' 
she thought. 'Could it have been a dream? How could 
he have learnt in a dream all she had done or said ? ' Still 
she kept silent; only she looked that once at the prince, 
and then remained all day as before, with her head bowed 
upon her knees. 

When night came the prince again made himself 
invisible and followed her. The same things happened 
again as had happened before, but Dorani sang better 
than ever. In the morning the prince a second time told 
Dorani all that she had done, pretending that he had 
dreamt of it. Directly he had finished Dorani gazed at 
him, and said: 

'Is it true that you dreamt this, or were you really 

'I was there,' answered the prince. 

' But why do you follow me ? ' asked the girl. 

'Because,' replied the prince, 'I love you, and to be 
with you is happiness.' 

This time Dorani's eyelids quivered; but she said no 
more, and was silent the rest of the day. However, in 
the evening, just as she was stepping into her palanquin, 
she said to the prince: 


'If you love me, prove it by not following me to- 

And so the prince did as she wished, and stayed at 

That evening the magic stool flew so unsteadily that 
they could hardly keep their seats, and at last the fairy 

'There is only one reason that it should jerk like this! 
You have been talking to your husband!' 

And Dorani replied: 'Yes, I have spoken; oh, yes, I 
have spoken!' But no more would she say. 

That night Dorani sang so marvellously that at the 
end the rajah Indra rose up and vowed that she might 
ask what she would and he would give it to her. At 
first she was silent; but, when he pressed her, she 

'Give me the magic lute.' 

The rajah, when he heard this, was displeased with 
himself for having made so rash a promise, because this 
lute he valued above all his possessions. But as he had 
promised, so he must perform, and with an ill grace he 
handed it to her. 

'You must never come here again,' said he, 'for, once 
having asked so much, how will you in future be content 
with smaller gifts ? ' 

Dorani bowed her head silently as she took the lute, 
and passed with the fairy out of the great gate, where the 
stool awaited them. More unsteadily than before, it flew 
back to earth. 

When Dorani got to the palace that morning she asked 
the prince whether he had dreamt again. He laughed 
with happiness, for this time she had spoken to him of 
her own free will; and he replied: 

' No ; but I begin to dream now — not of what has 
happened in the past, but of what may happen in the 

That day Dorani sat very quietly, but she answered the 

DO RAN I 197 

prince when he spoke to her; and when evening fell, and 
with it the time for her departure, she still sat on. Then 
the prince came close to her and said softly: 

'Are you not going to your house. Dorani?' 

At that she rose and threw herself weeping into his 
arms, whispering gently: 

'Never again, my lord, never again would I leave 

So the prince won his beautiful bride; and though 
they neither of them dealt any further with fairies and 
their magic, they learnt more daily of the magic of Love, 
which one may still learn, although fairy magic has fled 

(Punjabi Story, Major Campbell, Feroshepore.) 


Once upon a time there was a very rich and powerful 
king who, in spite of having been married several times, 
had only two daughters. 

The elder was extremely plain — she squinted and was 
hunchbacked; but at the same time she was very clever and 
amusing, so, though at heart both spiteful and untruthful, 
she was her father's favourite. 

The younger princess, on the other hand, was both 
lovely and sweet-tempered, and those who knew her well 
could hardly say whether her charming face or pleasant 
manners was the more attractive. 

The neighbouring country was governed by a young 
emperor, who, though not much over twenty years of age, 
had shown great courage in battle, and, had he wished 
it, might very likely have conquered the whole world. 
Luckily he preferred peace to war, and occupied his time 
with trying to rule his own kingdom well and wisely. His 
people were very anxious that he should marry, and as 
the two princesses were the only ladies to be heard of of 
suitable age and rank, the emperor sent envoys to their 
father's court to ask for the hand of one of them in mar- 
riage. But, as he was resolved only to marry a woman 
whom he could love and be happy with, he determined to 
see the lady himself before making up his mind. For this 
purpose he set out in disguise not long after the departure 
of his ambassadors, and arrived at the palace very soon 
after they did; but as he had foolishly kept his plan secret, 


he found, when he reached the court, that they had already 
made proposals for the elder princess. 

Now the emperor might just as well have gone openly, 
for his presence soon became known; and when the king 
heard of it he prepared to receive him royally, though of 
course he had to pretend that he had no idea who he was. 
So it was settled that the ambassadors should present their 
master under the name of one of the princes, and in this 
manner he was received by the king. 

At night there was a grand ball at which the young 
emperor was able to see the two princesses and to make 
their acquaintance. The ugly face and figure and spiteful 
remarks of the elder displeased him so greatly that he 
felt he could not marry her even if she owned ten kingdoms, 
whilst the sweet face and gentle manners of the younger 
sister charmed him so much that he would gladly have 
shared his throne with her had she been only a simple 

He found it very difficult to conceal his thoughts and 
to pay the elder princess the amount of attention due to 
her, though he did his best to be polite; while all he saw 
or heard during the next few days only increased his love 
for her younger sister, and at last he confessed that his 
dearest wish was to make her his wife, if she and her father 
would grant his desire. 

He had commanded his ambassadors to put off their 
farewell audience for a little time, hoping that the king 
might perceive the state of his feelings; but when it could 
be deferred no longer, he bade them propose in his name 
for the younger princess. 

On hearing this news, so different from what he had 
been led to expect, the king who — as we have said before 
— was devoted to his elder daughter and entirely under 
her influence, could hardly contain his displeasure. Di- 
rectly the audience was over he sent for the princess 
and told her of the insolent proposal the emperor had 
made for her sister. The princess was even more 


furious than her father, and after consulting together 
they decided to send the younger daughter to some 
distant place out of reach of the young emperor; but 
where this should be they did not quite know. However, 
at length, after they had both racked their brains to find 
a suitable prison, they fixed on a lonely castle called the 
Desert Tower, where they thought she would be quite 

Meantime, it was thought best to let the court gaieties 
go on as usual, and orders were given for all sorts of 
splendid entertainments; and on the day that was fixed 
for carrying off the princess, the whole court was invited 
to a great hunt in the forest. 

The emperor and the young princess were counting 
the hours till this morning, which promised to be so 
delightful, should dawn. The king and his guest arrived 
together at the meeting-place, but what was the surprise 
and distress of the young man at not seeing the object of 
his love amongst the ladies present. He waited anxiously, 
looking up and down, not hearing anything that the king 
said to him; and when the hunt began and she still was 
absent, he declined to follow, and spent the whole day 
seeking her, but in vain. 

On his return, one of his attendants told him that some 
hours before he had met the princess's carriage, escorted 
by a troop of soldiers who were riding on each side, so 
that no one could get speech of her. He had followed 
them at a distance, and saw them stop at the Desert Tower, 
and on its return he noticed that the carriage was empty. 
The emperor was deeply grieved by this news. He left 
the court at once, and ordered his ambassadors to declare 
war the very next day, unless the king promised to set 
free the princess. And more than this, no sooner had he 
reached his own country than he raised a large army, 
with which he seized the frontier towns, before his enemy 
had had time to collect any troops. But, ere he quitted the 
court, he took care to write a letter to his beloved princess, 


imploring her to have patience and trust to him; and this 
he gave into the hands of his favourite equerry, who would 
he knew lay down his life in his service. 

With many precautions the equerry managed to examine 
the surroundings of the tower, and at last discovered, 
not only where the princess lodged, but that a little win- 
dow in her room looked out on a desolate plot full of 

Now the unhappy princess was much annoyed that she 
was not even allowed to take the air at this little window, 
which was the only one in her room. Her keeper was 
her elder sister's former nurse, a woman whose eyes never 
slept. Not for an instant could she be induced to stir 
from the side of the princess, and she watched her slightest 

One day, however, the spy was for once busy in her 
room writing an account of the princess to her elder sister, 
and the poor prisoner seized the opportunity to lean out of 
the window. As she looked about her she noticed a man 
hidden amongst the bushes, who stepped forward as soon 
as he caught sight of her, and showed her a letter, which 
he took from his jerkin. She at once recognised him as 
one of the emperor's attendants, and let down a long string, 
to which he tied the letter. You can fancy how quickly 
she drew it up again, and luckily she had just time to 
read it before her gaoler had finished her report and entered 
the room. 

The princess's delight was great, and next day she 
managed to write an answer on a sheet of her note book, 
and to throw it down to the equerry, who hastened to carry 
it back to his master. The emperor was so happy at 
having news of his dear princess, that he resolved, at all 
risks, to visit the Desert Tower himself, if only to see her 
for a moment. He ordered his equerry to ask leave to 
visit her, and the princess replied that she should indeed 
rejoice to see him, but that she feared that her gaoler's 
watchfulness would make his journey useless, unless* \\e 


came during the short time when the old woman was 
writing alone in her own room. 

Naturally, the bare idea of difficulties only made the 
emperor more eager than ever. He was ready to run any 
risks, but, by the advice of the equerry, he decided to try 
cunning rather than force. In his next letter he enclosed 
a sleeping powder, which the princess managed to mix 
with her gaoler's supper, so that when the emperor reached 
the tower in the evening the princess appeared fearlessly 
at her window on hearing his signal. They had a long 
and delightful conversation, and parted in the fond hope 
that their meeting had not been observed. But in this 
they were sadly mistaken. The watchful eyes of the old 
nurse were proof against any sleeping draught — she had 
seen and heard all; and lost no time in writing to report 
everything to her mistress. 

The news made the spiteful little hunchback furious, 
and she resolved to be cruelly revenged for the contempt 
with which the emperor had treated her. She ordered 
her nurse to pretend not to notice what might be passing, 
and meantime she had a trap made so that if the emperor 
pushed his way through the brambles at the foot of the 
tower, it would not only catch him, as if he were a mouse, 
but would let loose a number of poisoned arrows, which 
would pierce him all over. When it was ready, the trap 
was hidden amongst the brambles without being observed 
by the princess. 

That same evening the. emperor hurried to the tower 
with all the impatience of love. As he came near he heard 
the princess break into a long, joyous peal of laughter. 
He advanced quickly to give the usual signal, when sud- 
denly his foot trod on something, he knew not what. A 
sharp, stinging pain ran through him, and he turned white 
and faint, but, luckily, the trap had only opened a little 
way, and only a few of the arrows flew out. For a moment 
he staggered, and then fell to the ground covered with 


Had he been alone he would have died very shortly, 
but his faithful squire was close at hand, and carried his 
master off to the wood where the rest of his escort were 
waiting for him. His wounds were bound up, and some 
poles were cut to make a rough litter, and, almost uncon- 
scious, the emperor was borne away out of his enemy's 
country to his own palace. 

All this time the princess was feeling very anxious. 
She had been whiling away the hours before this meeting 
by playing with a little pet monkey, which had been 
making such funny faces that, in spite of her troubles, 
she had burst into the hearty laugh overheard by the 
emperor. But by-and-by she grew restless, waiting for 
the signal which never came, and, had she dared, would 
certainly have rebelled when her gaoler, whom she 
believed to be fast asleep, ordered her to go to bed at 

A fortnight passed, which was spent in great anxiety 
by the poor girl, who grew thin and weak with the 
uncertainty. At the end of this period, when the nurse 
went to her room one morning as usual in order to write 
her daily report, she carelessly left the key in the door. 
This was perceived by the princess, who turned it upon 
her so quickly and quietly that she never found out she 
was locked in till she had finished writing, and got up to 
seek her charge. 

Finding herself free, the princess flew to the window, 
and to her horror saw the arrows lying about amongst 
the bloodstained brambles. Distracted with terror she 
slipped down the stairs and out of the tower, and ran for 
some time along a path, when with great good luck she 
met the husband of her own nurse, who had only just 
learned of her imprisonment, and was on. his way to try 
and find out whether he could serve her. The princess 
begged him to get her some men's clothes while she 
awaited him in a little wood close by. The good man 
was overjoyed to be of use, and started at once for the 


nearest town, where he soon discovered a shop where the 
court lackeys were accustomed to sell their masters' cast- 
off clothes. The princess dressed herself at once in the 
disguise he had brought, which was of rich material and 
covered with precious stones ; and, putting her own garments 
into a bag, which her servant hung over his shoulders, they 
both set out on their journey. 

This lasted longer than either of them expected. They 
walked by day as far as the princess could manage, and 
by night they slept in the open air. One evening they 
camped in a lovely valley watered by a rippling stream, 
and towards morning the princess was awakened by a 
charming voice singing one of the songs of her own child- 
hood. Anxious to find out where the sound came from, 
she walked to a thicket of myrtles, where she saw a little 
boy with a quiver at his back and an ivory bow in his hand, 
singing softly to himself as he smoothed the feathers of 
his shafts. 

'Are you surprised at seeing my eyes open?' he asked, 
with a smile. 'Ah! I am not always blind. And some- 
times it is well to know what sort of a heart needs piercing. 
It was I who sent out my darts the day that you and the 
emperor met, so, as I have caused the wound, I am in duty 
bound to find the cure!' 

Then he gave her a little bottle full of a wonderful salve 
with which to dress the emperor's wounds when she found 

'In two days you can reach his palace,' he said. 'Do 
not waste time, for sometimes time is life.' 

The princess thanked the boy with tears in her eyes, 
and hastened to awake her guide so that they might start, 
and set off at once on their way. 

As the boy had foretold, in two days the tower and 
walls of the city came in sight, and her heart beat wildly 
at the thought that she would soon be face to face with 
the emperor, but on inquiring after his health she learned, 
to her horror, that he was sinking fast. For a moment 


nearest town, where he soon discovered a shop where the 
court lackeys were accustomed to sell their masters' cast- 
off clothes. The princess dressed herself at once in the 
disguise he had brought, which was of rich material and 
covered with precious stones ; and, putting her own garments 
into a bag, which her servant hung over his shoulders, they 
both set out on their journey. 

This lasted longer than either of them expected. They 
walked by day as far as the princess could manage, and 
by night they slept in the open air. One evening they 
camped in a lovely valley watered by a rippling stream, 
and towards morning the princess was awakened by a 
charming voice singing one of the songs of her own child- 
hood. Anxious to find out where the sound came from, 
she walked to a thicket of myrtles, where she saw a little 
boy with a quiver at his back and an ivory bow in his hand, 
singing softly to himself as he smoothed the feathers of 
his shafts. 

'Are you surprised at seeing my eyes open?' he asked, 
with a smile. 'Ah! I am not always blind. And some- 
times it is well to know what sort of a heart needs piercing. 
It was I who sent out my darts the day that you and the 
emperor met, so, as I have caused the wound, I am in duty 
bound to find the cure!' 

Then he gave her a little bottle full of a wonderful salve 
with which to dress the emperor's wounds when she found 

'In two days you can reach his palace,' he said. 'Do 
not waste time, for sometimes time is life.' 

The princess thanked the boy with tears in her eyes, 
and hastened to awake her guide so that they might start, 
and set off at once on their way. 

As the boy had foretold, in two days the tower and 
walls of the city came in sight, and her heart beat wildly 
at the thought that she would soon be face to face with 
the emperor, but on inquiring after his health she learned, 
to her horror, that he was sinking fast. For a moment 


her grief was so great that she nearly betrayed herself. 
Then, calling all her courage to her aid, she announced 
that she was a doctor, and that if they would leave 
him in her charge for a few days she would promise to 
cure him. 

Now, in order to make a good appearance at court 
the new doctor resolved to have an entire suit made of 
pale blue satin. She bought the richest, most splendid 
stuff to be had in the shops, and summoned a tailor to 
make it for her, engaging to pay him double if he would 
finish the work in two hours. Next she went to the 
market, where she bought a fine mule, bidding her servant 
see that its harness was adorned with trappings of blue 
satin also. 

Whilst all was being made ready the princess asked 
the woman in whose house she lived whether she knew 
any of the emperor's attendants, and found to her satis- 
faction that her cousin was his majesty's chief valet. The 
doctor then bade the woman inform everyone she met 
that on hearing of the emperor's illness a celebrated sur- 
geon had hastened to attend him, and had undertaken to 
cure him entirely; declaring himself prepared to be burnt 
alive in case of failure. 

The good woman, who loved nothing better than a 
bit of gossip, hurried to the palace with her news. Her 
story did not lose in telling. The court physicians were 
very scornful about the new-comer, but the emperor's 
attendants remarked that as, in spite of their remedies, 
his majesty was dying before their eyes, there could be 
no harm in consulting this stranger. 

So the lord chamberlain begged the young doctor to 
come and prescribe for the royal patient without delay; 
and the doctor sent a message at once, that he would do 
himself the honour to present himself at the palace, and 
he lost no time in mounting his mule and setting out. 
As the people and soldiers saw him ride past they cried 


'Here comes the Satin Surgeon! Look at the Satin 
Surgeon! Long live the Satin Surgeon!' And, on arriving, 
he was announced by this name, and at once taken to the 
sick room of the dying man. 

The emperor was lying with his eyes closed, and his 
face as white as the pillow itself; but directly he heard 
the new-comer's voice, he looked up and smiled, and 
signed that he wished the new doctor to remain near him. 
Making a low bow, the Satin Surgeon assured the emperor 
that he felt certain of curing his malady, but insisted that 
everyone should leave the room except the emperor's 
favourite equerry. He then dressed the wounds with the 
magic salve which the boy had given him, and it so re- 
lieved the emperor's pain that he slept soundly all that 

When morning broke, the courtiers and doctors hurried 
to the emperor's chamber, and were much surprised to 
find him free of pain. But they were promptly ordered 
out of the room by the Satin Surgeon, who renewed the 
dressings with such good results that next morning the 
emperor was nearly well, and able to leave his bed. As 
he grew stronger, his thoughts dwelt more and more on 
the cause of all his sufferings, and his spirits grew worse 
as his health grew better. The face and voice of his new 
doctor reminded him of the princess who had, he imag- 
ined, betrayed him, and caused him such dreadful torture; 
and, unable to bear the thought, his eyes filled with 

The doctor noticed his sad countenance and did all he 
could to enliven his patient with cheerful talk and amusing 
stories, till at last he won the emperor's confidence and 
heard all the story of his love for a lady who had treated 
him cruelly, but whom, in spite of everything, he could 
not help loving. The Satin Surgeon listened with sym- 
pathy, and tried to persuade the emperor that possibly the 
princess was not so much to blame as might appear; but, 
eager though the sick man was to believe this, it took a 


long while to persuade him of it. At length a day came 
when the emperor was nearly well, and for the last time 
the doctor dressed the wounds with the precious salve. 
Then, both patient and surgeon, being wearied out with 
something they could not explain, fell asleep and slept for 

Early next morning, the princess, having decided to 
resume her own clothes which she had brought with her 
in a bag, dressed herself with great care and put on 
all her jewels so as to make herself look as lovely as 
possible. She had just finished when the emperor 
awoke, feeling so strong and well that he thought he 
must be dreaming, nor could he believe himself to be 
awake when he saw the princess draw aside his curtains. 

For some minutes they gazed at each other, unable 
to speak, and then they only uttered little gasps of joy 
and thankfulness. By-and-by the princess told him the 
whole story of her adventures since their last interview 
at the Desert Tower; and the emperor, weak as he was, 
threw himself at her feet with vows of love and gratitude, 
without ever giving a thought to the fact that the household 
and court physicians were awaiting their summons in the 

The emperor, anxious to prove how much he owed to 
the Satin Surgeon, opened his door himself, and great 
was everyone's surprise and joy at seeing him in such 
perfect health. Like good courtiers, they hastened in to 
praise and compliment the Satin Surgeon, but what was 
their astonishment on finding that he had disappeared, 
leaving in his place the loveliest princess in the whole 

'Whilst thanking the surgeon for his miraculous cure, 
you might at the same time do homage to your empress,' 
observed the emperor. He wished to have the marriage 
celebrated the same day, but the princess declared that 
she must wait to get her father's permission first. 

Messengers were therefore instantly despatched to the 



neighbouring capital, and soon returned with the king's 
consent, for he had lately discovered all the mischief caused 
by his elder daughter. 

The spiteful princess was so furious at the failure of 
her plans that she took to her bed, and died in a fit of 
rage and jealousy. No one grieved for her, and the king, 
being tired of the fatigues of Government, gave up his 
crown to his younger daughter; so the two kingdoms 
henceforth became one. 

(From the Cabinet des hies.) 


Once there lived a certain king who understood the lan- 
guage of all birds and beasts and insects. This knowledge 
had of course been given him by a fairy godmother; but 
it was rather a troublesome present, for he knew that if 
he were ever to reveal anything he had thus learned he 
would turn into a stone. How he managed to avoid doing 
so long before this story opens I cannot say, but he had 
safely grown up to manhood, and married a wife, and was 
as happy as monarchs generally are. 

This king, I must tell you, was a Hindu; and when a 
Hindu eats his food he has a nice little place on the ground 
freshly plastered with mud, and he sits in the middle of it 
with very few clothes on — which is quite a different way 
from ours. 

Well, one day the king was eating his dinner in just 
such a nice, clean, mud-plastered spot, and his wife was 
sitting opposite to wait upon him and keep him company. 
As he ate he dropped some grains of rice upon the ground, 
and a little ant, who was running about seeking a living, 
seized upon one of the grains and bore it off towards his 
hole. Just outside the king's circle this ant met another 
ant, and the king heard the second one say: 

1 Oh, dear friend, do give me that grain of rice, and 
get another one for yourself. You see my boots are so 
dirty that, if I were to go upon the king's eating place, 
I should defile it, and I can't do that, it would be so very 

But the owner of the grain of rice only raffed:. 


'If you want rice go and get it. No one will notice 
your dirty boots; and you don't suppose that I am going 
to carry rice for all our kindred?' 

Then the king laughed. 

The queen looked at herself up and down, but she could 
not see or feel anything in her appearance to make the 
king laugh, so she said: 

'What are you laughing at?' 

'Did I laugh?' replied the king. 

'Of course you did,' retorted the queen; 'and if you 
think that I am ridiculous I wish you would say so, instead 
of behaving in that stupid way! What are you laughing 

'I'm not laughing at anything,' answered the king. 

'Very well, but you did laugh, and I want to know 

'Well, I'm afraid I can't tell you,' said the king. 

'You must tell me,' replied the queen impatiently. 'If 
you laugh when there's nothing to laugh at you must be 
ill or mad. What is the matter?' 

Still the king refused to say, and still the queen declared 
that she must and would know. For days the quarrel 
went on, and the queen gave her husband no rest, until 
at last the poor man was almost out of his wits, and thought 
that, as life had become for him hardly worth living while 
this went on, he might as well tell her the secret and take 
the consequences. 

'But/ thought he, 'if I am to become a stone, I am 
not going to lie, if I can help it, on some dusty highway, 
to be kicked here and there by man and beast, flung at 
dogs, be used as the plaything of naughty children, and 
become generally restless and miserable. I will be a 
stone at the bottom of the cool river, and roll gently about 
there until I find some secure resting-place where I can 
stay for ever.' 

So he told his wife that if she would ride with him 
to the middle of the river he would tell her what he had 


laughed at. She thought he was joking, and laughingly 
agreed; their horses were ordered and they set out. 
On the way they came to a fine well beneath the shade 

Gke. King lauajia at the «&itt<ggpat=' 

of some lofty, wide-spreading trees, and the king proposed 
that they should get off and rest a little, drink some of 
the cool water, and then pass on. To this the queen. 


consented; so they dismounted and sat down in the shade 
by the well-side to rest. 

It happened that an old goat and his wife were browsing 
in the neighbourhood, and, as the king and queen sat 
there, the nanny goat came to the welPs brink and peering 
over saw some lovely green leaves that sprang in tender 
shoots out of the side of the well. 

'Oh!' cried she to her husband, 'come quickly and 
look. Here are some leaves which make my mouth water; 
come and get them for me!' 

Then the billy goat sauntered up and looked over, and 
after that he eyed his wife a little crossly. 

'You expect me to get you those leaves, do you? I 
suppose you don't consider how in the world I am to reach 
them? You don't seem to think at all; if you did you 
would know that if I tried to reach those leaves I should 
fall into the well and be drowned!' 

'Oh/ cried the nanny goat, 'why should you fall in? 
Do try and get them!' 

'I am not going to be so silly,' replied the billy 

But the nanny goat still wept and entreated. 

'Look here,' said her husband, 'there are plenty of 
fools in the world, but I am not one of them. This silly 
king here, because he can't cure his wife of asking ques- 
tions, is going to throw his life away. But I know how 
to cure you of your follies, and I'm going to.' 

And with that he butted the nanny goat so severely 
that in two minutes she was submissively feeding some- 
where else, and had made up her mind that the leaves in 
the well were not worth having. 

Then the king, who had understood every word, laughed 
once more. 

The queen looked at him suspiciously, but the king got 
up and walked across to where she sat. 

'Are you still determined to find out what I was laughing 
at the other dav ? ' he asked. 


1 Quite,' answered the queen angrily. 

'Because/ said the king, tapping his leg with his riding 
whip, ' I've made up my mind not to tell you, and moreover, 
I have made up my mind to stop you mentioning the subject 
any more.' 

' What do you mean ? ' asked the queen nervously. 

'Well,' replied the king, 'I notice that if that goat is 
displeased with his wife, he just butts her, and that seems 
to settle the question ' 

1 Do you mean to say you would beat me?' cried the 

'I should be extremely sorry to have to do so,' replied 
the king; 'but I have got to persuade you to go home 
quietly, and to ask no more silly questions when I say 
I cannot answer them. Of course, if you will persist, 
why ' 

And the queen went home, and so did the king; and 
it is said that they are both happier and wiser than ever 

(Punjabi Story, Major Campbell, Feroshepore ) 


In the midst of a sandy desert, somewhere in Asia, the 
eyes of travellers are refreshed by the sight of a high moun- 
tain covered with beautiful trees, among which the glitter 
of foaming waterfalls may be seen in the sunlight. In 
that clear, still air it is even possible to hear the song of 
the birds, and smell of the flowers ; but though the mountain 
is plainly inhabited — for here and there a white tent is 
visible — none of the kings or princes who pass it on 
the road to Babylon or Baalbec ever plunge into its forests 
— or, if they do, they never come back. Indeed, so great 
is the terror caused by the evil reputation of the mountain 
that fathers, on their death-beds, pray their sons never 
to try to fathom its mysteries. But in spite of its ill-fame, 
a certain number of young men every year announce their 
intention of visiting it and, as we have said, are never 
seen again. 

Now there was once a powerful king who ruled over a 
country on the other side of the desert, and, when dying, 
gave the usual counsel to his seven sons. Hardly, 
however, was he dead than the eldest, who succeeded to 
the throne, announced his intention of hunting in the 
enchanted mountain. In vain the old men shook their 
heads and tried to persuade him to give up his mad 
scheme. All was useless; he went, but did not return; 
and in due time the throne was filled by his next 

And so it happened to the other five, but when the 


youngest became king, and he also proclaimed a hunt in 
the mountain, a loud lament was raised in the city. 

'Who will reign over us when you are dead? For 
dead you surely will be/ cried they. 'Stay with us, and 
we will make you happy.' And for a while he listened to 
their prayers, and the land grew rich and prosperous 
under his rule. But in a few years the restless fit again 
took possession of him, and this time he would hear nothing. 
Hunt in that forest he would, and calling his friends and 
attendants round him, he set out one morning across the 

They were riding through a rocky valley, when a deer 
sprang up in front of them and bounded away. The 
king instantly gave chase, followed by his attendants; 
but the animal ran so swiftly that they never could get 
up to it, and at length it vanished in the depths of the 

Then the young man drew rein for the first time, and 
looked about him. He had left his companions far behind, 
and, glancing back, he beheld them entering some tents, 
dotted here and there amongst the trees. For himself, the 
fresh coolness of the woods was more attractive to him 
than any food, however delicious, and for hours he strolled 
about as his fancy led him. 

By-and-by, however, it began to grow dark, and he 
thought that the moment had arrived for them to start 
for the palace. So, leaving the forest with a sigh, he made 
his way down to the tents, but what was his horror to find 
his men lying about, some dead, some dying. These 
were past speech, but speech was needless. It was as 
clear as day that the wine they had drunk contained deadly 

'I am too late to help you, my poor friends,' he said, 
gazing at them sadly; 'but at least I can avenge you! 
Those that have set the snare will certainly return to see 
to its working. I will hide myself somewhere, and discover 
who they are!' 


Near the spot where he stood he noticed a large 
walnut tree, and into this he climbed. Night soon fell, 
and nothing broke the stillness of the place; but with the 
earliest glimpse of dawn a noise of galloping hoofs was 

Pushing the branches aside the young man beheld a 
youth approaching, mounted on a white horse. On reach- 
ing the tents the cavalier dismounted, and closely inspected 
the dead bodies that lay about them. Then, one by one, 
he dragged them to a ravine close by and threw them 
into a lake at the bottom. While he was doing this, the 
servants who had followed him led away the horses of 
the ill-fated men, and the courtiers were ordered to let 
loose the deer, which was used as a decoy, and to see that 
the tables in the tents were covered as before with food 
and wine. 

Having made these arrangements he strolled slowly 
through the forest, but great was his surprise to come 
upon a beautiful horse hidden in the depths of a thicket. 

* There was a horse for every dead man,' he said to 
himself. 'Then whose is this?' 

'Mine!' answered a voice from a walnut tree close 
by. 'Who are you that lure men into your power and 
then poison them? But you shall do so no longer. 
Return to your house, wherever it may be, and we will 
fight before it!' 

The cavalier remained, speechless with anger at these 
words; then with a great effort he replied: 

'I accept your challenge. Mount and follow me. I am 
Zoulvisia.' And, springing on his horse, he was out of 
sight so quickly that the king had only time to notice that 
light seemed to flow from himself and his steed, and that 
the hair under his helmet was like liquid gold. 

Clearly, the cavalier was a woman. But who could 
she be? Was she queen of all the queens? Or was she 
chief of a band of robbers? She was neither: onlv a 
beautiful maiden. 


Wrapped in these reflections, he remained standing 
beneath the walnut tree, long after horse and rider had 
vanished from sight. Then he awoke with a start, to 
remember that he must find the way to the house of his 
enemy, though where it was he had no notion. However, 
he took the path down which the rider had come, and 
walked along it for many hours till he came to three huts 
side by side, in each of which lived an old fairy and her 

The poor king was by this time so tired and hungry 
that he could hardly speak, but when he had drunk some 
milk, and rested a little, he was able to reply to the ques- 
tions they eagerly put to him. 

'I am going to seek Zoulvisia,' said he, 'she has slain 
my brothers and many of my subjects, and I mean to 
avenge them.' 

He had only spoken to the inhabitants of one house, 
but from all three came an answering murmur. 

'What a pity we did not know! Twice this day has 
she passed our door, and we might have kept her 

But though their words were brave their hearts were 
not, for the mere thought of Zoulvisia made them 

'Forget Zoulvisia, and stay with us,' they all said, 
holding out their hands; 'you shall be our big brother, 
and we will be your little brothers.' But the king would 

Drawing from his pocket a pair of scissors, a razor 
and a mirror, he gave one to each of the old fairies, 

'Though I may not give up my vengeance I accept 
your friendship, and therefore leave you these three tokens. 
If blood should appear on the face of either know that my 
life is in danger, and, in memory of our sworn brotherhood, 
come to my aid.' 

'We will come/ they answered. And the king mounted 


his horse and set out along the road they showed 

By the light of the moon he presently perceived a splendid 
palace, but, though he rode twice round it, he could find 
no door. He was considering what he should do next, 
when he heard the sound of loud snoring, which seemed 
to come from his feet. Looking down, he beheld an old 
man lying at the bottom of a deep pit, just outside the 
walls, with a lantern by his side. 

' Perhaps he may be able to give me some counsel,' 
thought the king; and, with some difficulty, he scrambled 
into the pit and laid his hand on the shoulder of the 

'Are you a bird or a snake that you can enter here?' 
asked the old man, awakening with a start. But the king 
answered that he was a mere mortal, and that he sought 

'Zoulvisia? The world's curse?' replied he, gnashing 
his teeth. 'Out of all the thousands she has slain I am 
the only one who has escaped, though why she spared 
me only to condemn me to this living death I cannot 

'Help me if you can,' said the king. And he told the 
old man his story, to which he listened intently. 

'Take heed then to my counsel,' answered the old man. 
'Know that every day at sunrise Zoulvisia dresses herself 
in her jacket of pearls, and mounts the steps of her crystal 
watch-tower. From there she can see all over her lands, 
and behold the entrance of either man or demon. If 
so much as one is detected she utters such fearful cries 
that those who hear her die of fright. But hide yourself 
in a cave that lies near the foot of the tower, and plant 
a forked stick in front of it; then, when she has uttered 
her third cry, go forth boldly, and look up at the 
tower. And go without fear, for you will have broken 
her power.' 

Word for word the king did as the old man had bidden 


him, and when he stepped forth from the cave, their eyes 

'You have conquered me/ said Zoulvisia, 'and are 
worthy to be my husband, for you are the first man who 
has not died at the sound of my voice ! ' And letting down 
her golden hair, she drew up the king to the summit of 
the tower as with a rope. Then she led him into the hall 
of audience, and presented him to her household. 

'Ask of me what you will, and I will grant it to you,' 
whispered Zoulvisia with a smile, as they sat together on 
a mossy bank by the stream. And the king prayed her 
to set free the old man to whom he owed his life, and to 
send him back to his own country. 

'I have finished with hunting, and with riding about 
my lands,' said Zoulvisia, the day that they were married. 
'The care of providing for us all belongs henceforth to 
you.' And turning to her attendants, she bade them bring 
the horse of fire before her. 

'This is your master, O my steed of flame,' cried she; 
'and you will serve him as you have served me.' And 
kissing him between his eyes, she placed the bridle in the 
hand of her husband. 

The horse looked for a moment at the young man, 
and then bent his head, while the king patted his neck 
and smoothed his tail, till they felt themselves old friends. 
After this he mounted to do Zoulvisia 's bidding, but before 
he started she gave him a case of pearls containing one 
of her hairs, which he tucked into the breast of his 

He rode along for some time, without seeing any 
game to bring home for dinner. Suddenly a fine stag 
started up almost under his feet, and he at once gave 
chase. On they sped, but the stag twisted and turned 
so that the king had no chance of a shot till they reached 
a broad river, when the animal jumped in and swam 
across. The king fitted his cross-bow with a bolt, and 


took aim, but though he succeeded in wounding the stag, 
it contrived to gain the opposite bank, and in his excitement 
he never observed that the case of pearls had fallen into 
the water. 

The stream, though deep, was likewise rapid, and the 
box was swirled along miles, and miles, and miles, till it 
was washed up in quite another country. Here it was 
picked up by one of the water-carriers belonging to the 
palace, who showed it to the king. The workmanship of 
the case was so curious, and the pearls so rare, that the 
king could not make up his mind to part with it, but he 
gave the man a good price, and sent him away. Then, 
summoning his chamberlain, he bade him find out its 
history in three days, or lose his head. 

But the answer to the riddle, which puzzled all the 
magicians and wise men, was given by an old woman, 
who came up to the palace and told the chamberlain 
that, for two handfuls of gold, she would reveal the 

Of course the chamberlain gladly gave her what she 
asked, and in return she informed him that the case and 
the hair belonged to Zoulvisia. 

1 Bring her hither, old crone, and you shall have gold 
enough to stand up in,' said the chamberlain. And the 
old woman answered that she would try what she could 

She went back to her hut in the middle of the 
forest, and standing in the door-way, whistled softly. 
Soon the dead leaves on the ground began to move and 
to rustle, and from underneath them there came a long 
train of serpents. They wriggled to the feet of the witch, 
who stooped down and patted their heads, and gave each 
one some milk in a red earthen basin. When they had 
all finished, she whistled again, and bade two or three 
coil themselves round her arms and neck, while she 
turned one into a cane and another into a whip. Then 


she took a stick, and on the river bank changed it into a 
raft, and seating herself comfortably, she pushed off into 
the centre of the stream. 

All that day she floated, and all the next night, and 
towards sunset the following evening she found herself 
close to Zoulvisia's garden, just at the moment that the 
king, on the horse of flame, was returning from hunt- 

'Who are you?' he asked in surprise; for old women 
travelling on rafts were not common in that country. 
'Who are you, and why have you come here?' 

'I am a poor pilgrim, my son,' answered she, 'and 
having missed the caravan, I have wandered foodless for 
many days through the desert, till at length I reached the 
river. There I found this tiny raft, and to it I committed 
myself, not knowing if I should live or die. But since 
you have found me, give me, I pray you, bread to eat, 
and let me lie this night by the dog who guards your 

This piteous tale touched the heart of the young man, 
and he promised that he would bring her food, and that 
she should pass the night in his palace. 

'But mount behind me, good woman,' cried he, 'for 
you have walked far, and it is still a long way to the pal- 
ace.' And as he spoke he bent down to help her, but the 
horse swerved on one side. 

And so it happened twice and thrice, and the old witch 
guessed the reason, though the king did not. 

'I fear to fall off,' said she; 'but as your kind heart 
pities my sorrows, ride slowly, and lame as I am, I think 
I can manage to keep up. ' 

At the door he bade the witch to rest herself, and he 
would fetch her all she needed. But Zoulvisia his wife 
grew pale when she heard whom he had brought, and 
besought him to feed the old woman and send her away, 
as she would cause mischief to befall them. 

The king laughed at her fears, and answered lightly: 



'Why, one would think she was a witch to hear you 
talk! And even if she were, what harm could she do to 
us?' And calling to the maidens he bade them carry her 
food, and to let her sleep in their chamber. 

Now the old woman was very cunning, and kept the 
maidens awake half the night with all kinds of stfange 
stories. Indeed, the next morning, while they were 
dressing their mistress, one of them suddenly broke into 
a laugh, in which the others joined her. 

'What is the matter with you?* asked Zoulvisia. 
And the maid answered that she was thinking of a droll 
adventure told them the evening before by the new- 

'And, oh, madam!* cried the girl, 'it may be that 
she is a witch, as they say; but I am sure she never would 
work a spell to harm a fly! And as for her tales, they 
would pass many a dull hour for you, when my lord was 

So, in an evil hour, Zoulvisia consented that the crone 
should be brought to her, and from that moment the two 
were hardly ever apart. 

One day the witch began to talk about the young king, 
and to declare that in all the lands she had visited she had 
seen none like him. 

'It was so clever of him to guess your secret so as to 
win your heart/ said she. 'And of course he told you 
his, in return ?' 

'No, I don't think he has got any,' returned Zoul- 

'Not got any secrets ?' cried the old woman scorn- 
fully. 'That is nonsense! Every man has a secret, 
which he always tells to the woman he loves. And 
if he has not told it to you, it is that he does not love 

These words troubled Zoulvisia mightily, though she 
would not confess it to the witch. But the next time 




she found herself alone with her husband, she began to 
coax him to tell her in what lay the secret of his strength. 
For a long while he put her off with caresses, but when 
she would be no longer denied, he answered: 

'It is my sabre that gives me strength, and day and 
night it lies by my side. But now that I have told you, 
swear upon this ring, that I will give you in exchange for 
yours, that you will reveal it to nobody. ' And Zoulvisia 
swore; and instantly hastened to betray the great news 
to the old woman. 

Four nights later, when all the world was asleep, the 
witch softly crept into the king's chamber and took the 
sabre from his side as he lay sleeping. Then, opening 
her lattice, she flew on to the terrace and dropped the 
sword into the river. 

The next morning everyone was surprised because 
the king did not, as usual, rise early and go off to hunt. 
The attendants listened at the keyhole and heard the 
sound of heavy breathing, but none dared enter, till Zoul- 
visia pushed past. And what a sight met their gaze! 
There lay the king almost dead, with foam on his mouth, 
and eyes that were already closed. They wept, and they 
cried to him, but no answer came. 

Suddenly a shriek broke from those who stood hind- 
most, and in strode the witch, with serpents round her 
neck and arms and hair. At a sign from her they flung 
themselves with a hiss upon the maidens, whose flesh 
was pierced with their poisonous fangs. Then turning 
to Zoulvisia, she said: 

' I give you your choice — will you come with me, or 
shall the serpents slay you also?' And as the terrified 
girl stared at her, unable to utter one word, she seized 
her by the arm and led her to the place where the raft 
was hidden among the rushes. When they were both 
on board she took the oars, and they floated down the 
stream till they had reached the neighbouring country, 
where Zoulvisia was sold for a sack of gold to the kv\%. 


Now, since the young man had entered the three huts 
on his way through the forest, not a morning had passed 
without the sons of the three fairies examining the scissors, 
the razor and the mirror, which the young king had left 
them. Hitherto the surfaces of all three things had been 
bright and undimmed, but on this particular morning, 
when they took them out as usual, drops of blood stood 
on the razor and the scissors, while the little mirror was 
clouded over. 

* Something terrible must have happened to our little 
brother,' they whispered to each other, with awestruck 
faces; 'we must hasten to his rescue ere it be too late.' 
And putting on their magic slippers they started for the 

The servants greeted them eagerly, ready to pour 
forth all they knew, but that was not much; only that 
the sabre had vanished, none knew where. The new- 
comers passed the whole of the day in searching for it, 
but it could not be found, and when night closed in, they 
were very tired and hungry. But how were they to get 
food? The king had not hunted that day, and there was 
nothing for them to eat. The little men were in despair, 
when a ray of the moon suddenly lit up the river beneath 
the walls. 

'How stupid! Of course there are fish to catch,' 
cried they; and running down to the bank they soon 
succeeded in landing some fine fish, which they cooked 
on the spot. Then they felt better, and began to look 
about them. 

Further out, in the middle of the stream, there was 
a strange splashing, and by-and-by the body of a huge 
fish appeared, turning and twisting as if in pain. The 
eyes of all the brothers were fixed on the spot, when the 
fish leapt in the air, and a bright gleam flashed through 
the night. 'The sabre!' they shouted, and plunged into 
the stream, and with a sharp tug, pulled out the sword, 
while the fish lay on the water, exhausted by its struggles 


Swimming back with the sabre to land, they carefully 
dried it in their coats, and then carried it to the palace 
and placed it on the king's pillow. In an instant colour 
came back to the waxen face, and the hollow cheeks filled 
out. The king sat up, and opening his eyes he said: 

' Where is Zoulvisia ? ' 

'That is what we do not know/ answered the little 
men; 'but now that you are saved you will soon find 
out.' And they told him what had happened since 
Zoulvisia had betrayed his secret to the witch. 

'Let me go to my horse,' was all he said. But when 
he entered the stable he could have wept at the sight of 
his favourite steed, which was nearly in as sad a plight 
as his master had been. Languidly he turned his head 
as the door swung back on its hinges, but when he beheld 
the king he rose up, and rubbed his head against 

'Oh, my poor horse! How much cleverer were you 
than I! If I had acted like you I should never have 
lost Zoulvisia; but we will seek her together, you and I.' 

For a long while the king and his horse followed the 
course of the stream, but nowhere could he learn any- 
thing of Zoulvisia. At length, one evening, they both 
stopped to rest by a cottage not far from a great city, 
and as the king was lying outstretched on the grass, lazily 
watching his horse cropping the short turf, an old woman 
came out with a wooden bowl of fresh milk, which she 
offered him. 

He drank it eagerly, for he was very thirsty, and then 
laying down the bowl, began to talk to the woman, 
who was delighted to have someone to listen to her 

'You are in luck to have passed this way just now,' 
said she, 'for in five days the king holds his wedding 
banquet. *.Ah! but the bride is unwilling, for all her 
blue eyes and her golden hair! And she kee^ V^ Vast 


side a cup of poison, and declares that she will swallow 
it rather than become his wife. Yet he is a handsome 
man too, and a proper husband for her — more than she 
could have looked for, having come no one knows whither, 
and bought from a witch ' 

The king started. Had he found her after all? His 
heart beat violently, as if it would choke him; but he 
gasped out: 

'Is her name Zoulvisia?' 

'Ay, so she says, though the old witch But what 

ails you?' she broke off, as the young man sprang to his 
feet and seized her wrists. 

'Listen to me/ he said. ' Can you keep a secret ?' 

'Ay/ answered the old woman again, 'if I am paid 
for it.' 

'Oh, you shall be paid, never fear — as much as your 
heart can desire! Here is a handful of gold: you shall 
have as much again if you will do my bidding.' The old 
crone nodded her head. 

' Then go and buy a dress such as ladies wear at court, 
and manage to get admitted into the palace, and into the 
presence of Zoulvisia. When there, show her this ring, 
and after that she will tell you what to do.' 

So the old woman set off, and clothed herself in a gar- 
ment of yellow silk, and wrapped a veil closely round her 
head. In this dress she walked boldly up the palace steps 
behind some merchants whom the king had sent for to 
bring presents for Zoulvisia. 

At first the bride would have nothing to say to any of 
them; but on perceiving the ring, she suddenly grew as 
meek as a lamb. And thanking the merchants for their 
trouble, she sent them away, and remained alone with 
her visitor. 

'Grandmother/ asked Zoulvisia, as soon as the door 
was safely shut, ' where is the owner of this ring ?' 

'In my cottage/ answered the old woman, 'waiting for 
orders from you.' 


'Tell him to remain there for three days; and now 
go to the king of this country, and say that you have 
succeeded in bringing me to reason. Then he will let 
me alone and will cease to watch me. On the third day 
from this I shall be wandering about the garden near 
the river, and there your guest will find me. The rest 
concerns myself only.' 

The morning of the third day dawned, and with the 
first rays of the sun a bustle began in the palace; for 
that evening the king was to marry Zoulvisia. Tents 
were being erected of fine scarlet cloth, decked with 
wreaths of sweet-smelling white flowers, and in them 
the banquet was spread. When all was ready a pro- 
cession was formed to fetch the bride, who had been 
wandering in the palace gardens since daylight, and 
crowds lined the way to see her pass. A glimpse of her 
dress of golden gauze might be caught, as she passed from 
one flowery thicket to another; then suddenly the multitude 
swayed, and shrank back, as a thunderbolt seemed to flash 
out of the sky to the place where Zoulvisia was standing. 
Ah! but it was no thunderbolt, only the horse of fire! And 
when the people looked again, it was bounding away with 
two persons on its back. 

Zoulvisia and her husband both learnt how to keep 
happiness when they had got it; and that is a lesson that 
many men and woman never learn at all. And besides, 
it is a lesson which nobody can teach, and that every boy 
and girl must learn for themselves. 

(From Conies Armenietu. Par Louis Macler.) 


Once, in former times, there lived in a certain city in 
India a poor oil-seller, called Dena, who never could keep 
any money in his pockets; and when this story begins 
he had borrowed from a banker, of the name of L£na, 
the sum of one hundred rupees; which, with the interest 
Le*na always charged, amounted to a debt of three hun- 
dred rupees. Now Dena was doing a very bad business, 
and had no money with which to pay his debt, so Le*na 
was very angry, and used to come round to Dana's house 
every evening and abuse him until the poor man was nearly 
worried out of his life. L£na generally fixed his visit 
just when D&ia's wife was cooking the evening meal, and 
would make such a scene that the poor oil-seller and his 
wife and daughter quite lost their appetites, and could 
eat nothing. This went on for some weeks, till, one day, 
D£na said to himself that he could stand it no longer, 
and that he had better run away; and, as a man cannot 
fly easily with a wife and daughter, he thought he must 
leave them behind. So that evening, instead of turning 
into his house as usual after his day's work, he just slipped 
out of the city without knowing very well where he was 

At about ten o'clock that night De*na came to a well 
by the wayside, near which grew a giant peepul tree; and, 
as he was very tired, he determined to climb it, and 
rest for a little before continuing his journey in the 
morning. Up he went and curled himself so comfortably 
amongst the great branches that, overcome with weariness, 


he fell fast asleep. Whilst he slept, some spirits, who 
roam about such places on certain nights, picked up the 
tree and flew away with it to a far-away shore where 
no creature lived, and there, long before the sun rose, 
they set it down. Just then the oil-seller awoke; but 
instead of finding himself in the midst of a forest, he 
was amazed to behold nothing but waste shore and wide 
sea, and was dumb with horror and astonishment. Whilst 
he sat up, trying to collect his senses, he began to catch 
sight here and there of twinkling, flashing lights, like little 
fires, that moved and sparkled all about, and wondered 
what they were. Presently he saw one so close to him 
that he reached out his hand and grasped it, and found 
that it was a sparkling red stone, scarcely smaller than 
a walnut. He opened a corner of his loin-cloth and tied 
the stone in it; and by-and-by he got another, and then 
a third, and a fourth, all of which he tied up carefully 
in his cloth. At last, just as the day was breaking, the 
tree rose, and, flying rapidly through the air, was deposited 
once more by the well where it had stood the previous 

When De*na had recovered a little from the fright which 
the extraordinary antics of the tree had caused him, he 
began to thank Providence that he was alive, and, as his 
love of wandering had been quite cured, he made his way 
back to the city and to his own house. Here he was met 
and soundly scolded by his wife, who assailed him with a 
hundred questions and reproaches. As soon as she paused 
for breath, De'na replied: 

'I have only this one thing to say, just look what I 
have got!' And, after carefully shutting all the doors, he 
opened the corner of his loin-cloth and showed her the 
four stones, which glittered and flashed as he turned them 
over and over. 

'Pooh!' said his wife, 'the silly pebbles! If it was 
something to eat, now, there'd be some sense in them; 
but what's the good of such things?* And &V\fe \ntc&&. 


away with a sniff, for it had happened that the night 
before, when Le*na had come round as usual to storm at 
D£na, he had been rather disturbed to find that his victim 
was from home, and had frightened the poor woman by 
his threats. Directly, however, he heard that D£na had 
come back, Le*na appeared in the doorway. For some 
minutes he talked to the oil-seller at the top of his voice, 
until he was tired, then D£na said: 

'If your honour would deign to walk into my humble 
dwelling, I will speak.' 

So L^na walked in, and the other, shutting as before 
all the doors, untied the corner of his loin-cloth and showed 
him the four great flashing stones. 

'This is all/ said he, 'that I have in the world to set 
against my debt, for, as your honour knows, I haven't a 
penny, but the stones are pretty!' 

Now Lem looked and saw at once that these were mag- 
nificent rubies, and his mouth watered for them; but as it 
would never do to show what was in his mind, he went 

'What do I care about your stupid stones? It is my 
money I want, my lawful debt which you owe me, and I 
shall get it out of you yet somehow or another, or it will be 
the worst for you/ 

To all his reproaches Deiia could answer nothing, 
but sat with his hands joined together beseechingly, 
asking for patience and pity. At length L£na pretended 
that, rather than have a bad debt on his hand, he would 
be at the loss of taking the stones in lieu of his money; 
and, whilst De*na nearly wept with gratitude, he wrote 
out a receipt for the three hundred rupees; and, wrapping 
the four stones in a cloth, he put them into his bosom, and 
went off to his house. 

'How shall I turn these rubies into money?' thought 
Le*na, as he walked along; 'I daren't keep them, for they 
are of great value, and if the rajah heard that I had them 
he would probably put me into prison on some pretence 


and seize the stones and all else that I have as well. But 
what a bargain I have got! Four rubies worth a king's 
ransom, for one hundred rupees! Well, well, I must take 
heed not to betray my secret.' And he, went on making 
plans. Presently he made up his mind what to do, and, 
putting on his cleanest clothes, he set off to the house of 
the chief wazir, whose name was Musli, and, after seeking 
a private audience, he brought out the four rubies and laid 
them before him. 

The wazir's eyes sparkled as he beheld the splendid 

'Fine, indeed,' murmured he. 'I can't buy them at 
their real value; but, if you like to take it, I will give you 
ten thousand rupees for the four.' 

To this the banker consented gratefully; and 
handing over the stones in exchange for the rupees, he 
hurried home, thanking his stars that he had driven such 
a reasonable bargain and obtained such an enormous 

After L£na had departed the wazir began casting about 
in his mind what to do with the gems; and very soon de- 
termined that the best thing to do was to present them to 
the rajah, whose name was Kahr6. Without losing a 
moment, he went that very day to the palace, and sought 
a private interview with the rajah; and when he found 
himself alone with his royal master, he brought the four 
jewels and laid them before him. 

'Oh, ho!' said the rajah, 'these are priceless gems, and 
you have done well to give them to me. In return I give 
you and your heirs the revenues of ten villages.' 

Now the wazir was overjoyed at these words, but only 
made his deepest obeisance; and, whilst the king put the 
rubies into his turban, hurried away beaming with hap- 
piness at the thought that for ten thousand rupees he had 
become lord of ten villages. The rajah was also equally 
pleased, and strolled off with his new purchases to the 
women's quarters and showed them to the queen, who 


was nearly out of her mind with delight. Then, as she 
turned them over and over in her hands, she said: 'Ah! 
if I had eight more such gems, what a necklace they would 
make! Get me eight more of them or I shall die!' 

'Most unreasonable of women/ cried the rajah, 
1 where am I to get eight more such jewels as these? 
I gave ten villages for them, and yet you are not 
satisfied ! ' 

'What does it matter?' said the rani; 'do you want me 
to die? Surely you can get some more where these came 
from ? * And then she fell to weeping and wailing until the 
rajah promised that in the morning he would make arrange- 
ments to get some more such rubies, and that if she would 
be patient she should have her desire. 

In the morning the rajah sent for the wazir, and said 
that he must manage to get eight more rubies like those 
he had brought him the day before, 'and if you don't I 
shall hang you,' cried the rajah, for he was very cross. 
The poor wazir protested in vain that he knew not where 
to seek them; his master would not listen to a word he 

'You must? said he; 'the rani shall not die for the want 
of a few rubies! Get more where those came from.' 

The wazir left the palace, much troubled in mind, and 
bade his slaves bring Le*na before him. 'Get me eight 
more such rubies as those you brought yesterday,' com- 
manded the wazir, directly the banker was shown into 
his presence. 'Eight more, and be quick, or I am a dead 

'But how can I?' wailed L&ia; 'rubies like those don't 
grow upon bushes!' 

' Where did you get them from ? ' asked the wazir. 

'From De*na, the oil-seller,' said the banker. 

'Well, send for him and ask him where he got them,' 
answered the wazir. 'I am not going to hang for twenty 
-Denas!' And more slaves were sent to summon Dena. 


When D£na arrived he was closely questioned, and then 
all three started to see the rajah, and to him D&ia told the 
whole story. 

'What night was it that you slept in the peepul tree?' 
demanded the rajah. 

'I can't remember,' said D&ia; 'but my wife will 

Then Dana's wife was sent for, and she explained that 
it was on the last Sunday of the new moon. 

Now everyone knows that it is on the Sunday of the 
new moon that spirits have special power to play pranks 
upon mortals. So the rajah forbade them all, on pain of 
death, to say a word to anyone; and declared that, on 
the next Sunday of the new moon, they four — Kahr6, 
Musli, L&ia and Dgna — would go and sit in the peepul 
tree and see what happened. 

The days dragged on to the appointed Sunday, and 
that evening the four met secretly, and entered the forest. 
They had not far to go before they reached the peepul tree, 
into which they climbed as the rajah had .planned. At 
midnight the tree began to sway, and presently it moved 
through the air. 

'See, sire,' whispered D&ia, 'the tree is flying!' 

'Yes, yes,' said the rajah, 'you have told the truth. 
Now sit quiet, and we shall see what happens.' 

Away and away flew the tree with the four men cling- 
ing tightly to its branches, until at last it was set down 
by the waste sea-shore where a great wide sea came 
tumbling in on a desert beach. Presently, as before, 
they began to see little points of light that glistened 
like fires all around them. Then D6na thought to 

'Think! last time I only took four that came close to 
me, and I got rid of all my debt in return. This time I 
will take all I can get and be rich!' 

'If I got ten thousand rupees for four stones,' thought 
L£na, 'I will gather forty now for myself, and become so 


wealthy that they will probably make me a wazir at 

'For four stones I received ten villages,' Musti was 
silently thinking; 'now I will get stones enough to pur- 
chase a kingdom, become a rajah, and employ wazirs of 
my own!' 

-suddenly the 

And Kahre 1 thought: 'What is the good of only getting 
eight stones? Why, here are enough to make twenty 
necklaces; and wealth means power!' 

Full of avarice and desire, each scrambled down from 
the tree, spread his cloth, and darted hither and thither 
picking up the precious jewels, looking the while over his 
shoulder to see whether his neighbour fared better than 
he. So engrossed were they in the business of gathering 
wealth that the dawn came upon them unawares; and 


suddenly the tree rose up again and flew away, leaving 
them upon the sea-shore staring after it, each with his 
cloth heavy with priceless jewels. 

Morning broke in the city, and great was the consterna- 
tion in the palace when the chamberlains declared that 
the rajah had gone out the evening before and had not 

'Ah!' said one, 'it is all right! Musli wazir will 
know where he is, for it was he who was the king's 

Then they went to the wazir's house, and there they 
learnt that the wazir had left it the evening before and 
had not returned; 'but,' said a servant, 'Le*na the banker 
will know where he is, for it was with him that Musli 

Then they visited the house of Le*na, and there they 
learnt that the banker had gone out the evening before, 
and that he too had not returned; but the porter told 
them that he was accompanied by De*na the oil-seller, so 
he would know where they were. 

So they departed to Dana's house, and Dana's wife met 
them with a torrent of reproaches and wailings, for D&ia 
too had gone off the evening before to Lena's house and 
had not returned. 

In vain they waited, and searched — never did any of 
the hapless four return to their homes; and the confused 
tale which was told by De*na's wife was the only clue tQ 
their fate. 

To this day, in that country, when a greedy man has 
overreached himself, and lost all in grasping at too much, 
folks say: 

'All has he lost! — neither De*na, nor Le*na, nor Musli, 
nor Kahre* remain.' And not five men in a hundred know 
how the proverb began, nor what it really signifies. 

(Major Campbell, Fero&epotO 


In a very hot country, far away to the east, was a beau- 
tiful little lake where two wild ducks made their home, 
and passed their days swimming and playing in its clear 
waters. They had it all to themselves, except for a 
turtle, who was many years older than they were, and 
had come there before them, and, luckily, instead of 
taking a dislike to the turtle, as so often happens when 
you have only one person to speak to, they became great 
friends, and spent most of the day in each other's com- 

All went on smoothly and happily till one summer, 
when the rains failed and the sun shone so fiercely that 
every morning there was a little less water in the lake 
and a little more mud on the bank. The water-lilies 
around the edge began to droop, and the palms to hang 
their heads, and the ducks' favourite swimming place, 

-where they could dive the deepest, to grow shallower and 
shallower. At length there came a morning when the 
ducks looked at each other uneasily, and before night- 
fall they had whispered that if at the end of two days rain 
had not come, they must fly away and seek a new home, 
for if they stayed in their old one, which they loved so 
much, they would certainly die of thirst. 

Earnestly they watched the sky for many hours 
before they tucked their heads under their wings and 
fell asleep from sheer weariness, but not the tiniest 
cloud was to be seen covering the stars that shone so 
big and brilliant, and hung so low in the heavens that 

you felt as if you could touch them. So, when the 


morning broke, they made up their minds that they 
must go and tell the turtle of their plans, and bid him 

They found him comfortably curled up on a pile of 
dead rushes, more than half asleep, for he was old, and 
could not venture out in the heat as he once used. 

'Ah! here you are,' he cried; 'I began to wonder if 
I was ever going to see you again, for, somehow, though 
the lake has grown smaller, I seem to have grown 
weaker, and it is lonely spending all day and night by 
oneself! ' 

'Oh! my friend/ answered the elder of the two ducks, 
'if you have suffered we have suffered also. Besides, 
I have something to tell you, that I fear will cause you 
greater pain still. If we do not wish to die of thirst 
we must leave this place at once, and seek another 
where the sun's rays do not come. My heart bleeds 
to say this, for there is nothing — nothing else in the 
world — which would have induced us to separate from 

The turtle was so astonished as well as so distressed at 
the duck's speech that for a moment he could find no words 
to reply. But when he had forced back his tears, he said 
in a shaky voice: 

'How can you think that I am able to live without you, 
when for so long you have been my only friends? If 
you leave me, death will speedily put an end to my 

'Our sorrow is as great as yours,' answered the other 
duck, 'but what can we do? And remember that if we 
are not here to drink the water, there will be the more for 
you! If it had not been for this terrible misfortune, be 
sure that nothing would have parted us from one whom 
we love so dearly.' 

'My friends,' replied the turtle, 'water is as necessary 
to me as to you, and if death stares in your faces, it 
stares in mine also. But in the name of all the y^ 8 ^ 


we have passed together, do not, I beseech you, leave me 
to perish here alone! Wherever you may go take me with 

There was a pause. . The ducks felt wretched at the 
thought of abandoning their old comrade, yet, at the same 
time, how could they grant his prayer? It seemed quite 
impossible, and at length one of them spoke: 

'Oh, how can I find words to refuse?' cried he, 
'yet how can we do what you ask? Consider that, 
like yours, our bodies are heavy and our feet small. 
Therefore, how could we walk with you over mountains 
and deserts, till we reached a land where the sun's rays 
no longer burn? Why, before the day was out we 
should all three be dead of fatigue and hunger! No, 
our only hope lies in our wings — and, alas! you cannot 

'No, I cannot fly, of course,' answered the turtle, with 
a sigh. 'But you are so clever, and have seen so much 
of the world — surely you can think of some plan?' 
And he fixed his eyes eagerly on them. Now, when the 
ducks saw how ardently the turtle wished to accompany 
them their hearts were touched, and making a sign to 
their friend that they wished to be alone they swam out 
into the lake to consult together. Though he could not 
hear what they said, the turtle could watch, and the half- 
hour that their talk lasted felt to him like a hundred years. 
At length he beheld them returning side by side, and so 
great was his anxiety to know his fate he almost died from 
excitement before they reached him. 

'We hope we have found a plan that may do for you,' 
said the big duck gravely, 'but we must warn you that 
it is not without great danger, especially if you are not 
careful to follow our directions.' 

'How is it possible that I should not follow your direc- 
tions when my life and happiness are at stake?' asked the 
turtle joyfully. ' Tell me what they are, and I will promise 
to obey them gratefully.' 


'Well, then,' answered the duck, 'whilst we are carry- 
ing you through the air, in the manner that we have fixed 
upon, you must remain as quiet as if you were dead. How- 
ever high above the earth you may find yourself, you must 
not feel afraid, nor move your feet nor open your mouth. 
N6 matter what you see or hear, it is absolutely needful 
for you to be perfectly still, or I cannot answer for the 

'I will be absolutely obedient,' answered the turtle, 

/not only on this occasion but during all my life; and once 

more I promise faithfully not to move head or foot, to 

fear nothing, and never to speak a word during the whole 


This being settled, the ducks swam about till they 
found, floating in the lake, a good stout stick. This they 
tied to their necks with some of the tough water-lily roots, 
and returned as quickly as they could to the turtle. 

'Now,' said the elder duck, pushing the stick gently 
towards his friend, 'take this stick firmly in your mouth, 
and do not let it go till we have set you down on 
earth again.' 

The turtle did as he was told, and the ducks in their 
turn seized the stick by the two ends, spread their wings 
and mounted swiftly into the air, the turtle hanging be- 
tween them. 

For a while all went well. They swept across valleys, 
over great mountains, above ruined cities, but no lake 
was to be seen anywhere. Still, the turtle had faith in 
his friends, and bravely hung on to the stick. 

At length they saw in the distance a small village, and 
very soon they were passing over the roofs of the houses. 
The people were so astonished at the strange sight, that 
they all — men, women and children — ran out to see it, 
and cried to each other: 

'Look! look! behold a miracle! Two ducks sup- 
porting a turtle! Was ever such a thing known before!' 
Indeed, so great was the surprise tiaaX xxvexv VSfc. ^a&vc 


ploughing and women their weaving in order to add their 
voices to their friends. ' 

The ducks flew steadily on, heeding nothing of the 
commotion below; but not so the turtle. At first he kept 
silence, as he had been bidden to do, but at length the 
clamour below proved too much for him, and he began 
to think that everyone was envying him the power of travel- 
ling through the air. In an evil moment he forgot the 
promises he had made so solemnly, and opened his mouth 
to reply, but, before he could utter a word, he was rush- 
ing so swiftly through the air that he quickly became un- 
conscious, and in this state was dashed to pieces against 
the side of a house. Then the ducks let fail after him the 
stick that had held up their friend, and which was of no 
further use. Sadly they looked at each other and shook 
their heads. 

'We feared it would end so,' said they, 'yet, perhaps, he 
was right after all. Certainly this death was better than 
the one which awaited him.' 

(From Les Contes ei Fables Indiennes. Par M. Galland, 1724.) 


Once upon a time there lived by herself, in a city, an old 
woman who was desperately poor. One day she found 
that she had only a handful of flour left in the house, and 
no money to buy more nor hope of earning it. Carrying 
her little brass pot, very sadly she made her way down to 
the river to bathe and to obtain some water, thinking after- 
wards to come home and to make herself an unleavened 
cake of what flour she had left; and after that she did not 
know what was to become of her. 

Whilst she was- bathing she left her little brass pot 
on the river bank covered with a cloth, to keep the inside 
nice and clean; but when she came up out of the river and 
took the cloth off to fill the pot with water, she saw inside 
it the glittering folds of a deadly snake. At once she popped 
the cloth again into the mouth of the pot and held it there; 
and then she said to herself: 

'Ah, kind death! I will take thee home to my house, 
and there I will shake thee out of my pot and thoushalt 
bite me and I will die, and then all my troubles will be 

With these sad thoughts in her mind the poor old 
woman hurried home, holding her cloth carefully in the 
mouth of the pot; and when she got home she shut all 
the doors and windows, and took away the cloth, and 
turned the pot upside down upon her hearthstone. What 
was her surprise to find that, instead of the deadly snake 
which she expected to see fall out of it, there fell out with 
a rattle and a clang a most magnificent necklace of flashing 


For a few minutes she could hardly think or speak, 
but stood staring; and then with trembling hands she 
picked the necklace up, and folding it in the corner of 
her veil, she hurried off to the king's hall of public 

'A petition, O king!' she said. 'A petition for thy 
private ear alone!' And when her prayer had been 
granted, and she found herself alone with the king, she 
shook out her veil at his feet, and there fell from it 
in glittering coils the splendid necklace. As soon as the 
king saw it he was filled with amazement and delight; and 
the more he looked at it the more he felt that he must pos- 
sess it at once. So he gave the old woman five hundred 
silver pieces for it, and put it straightway into his pocket. 
Away she went full of happiness; for the money that the 
king had given her was enough to keep her for the rest of 
her life. 

As soon as he could leave his business the king hur- 
ried off and showed his wife his prize, with which she 
was as pleased as he, if not more so; and, as soon as they 
had finished admiring the wonderful necklace, they locked 
it up in the great chest where the queen's jewellery was 
kept, the key of which hung always round the king's 

A short while afterwards, a neighbouring king sent a 
message to say that a most lovely girl baby had been 
born to him; and he invited his neighbours to come to 
a great feast in honour of the occasion. The queen told 
her husband that of course they must be present at the 
banquet, and she would wear the new necklace which he 
had given her. They had only a short time to prepare 
for the journey, and at the last moment the king went to 
the jewel chest to take out the necklace for his wife to 
wear, but he could see no necklace at all, only, in its place, 
a fat little boy baby crowing and shouting. The king was 
so astonished that he nearly fell backwards, but presently 
he found his voice, and called for his wife so loudly that 


she came running, thinking that the necklace must at 
least have been stolen. 

'Look here! look!' cried the king, 'haven't we al- 
ways longed for a son? And now heaven has sent us 

'What do you mean?' cried the queen. 'Are you 

'Mad? no, I hope not/ shouted the king, dancing in 
excitement round the open chest. 'Come here, and look! 
Look what we've got instead of that necklace!' 

Just then the baby let out a great crow of joy, as though 
he would like to jump up and dance with the king; and 
the queen gave a cry of surprise, and ran up and looked 
into the chest. 

'Oh!' she gasped, as she looked at the baby, 'what a 
darling! Where could he have come from ?' 

'I'm sure I can't say,' said the king; 'all I know is that 
we locked up a necklace in the chest, and when I unlocked 
it just now there was no necklace, but a baby, and as fine 
a baby as ever was seen.' 

By this time the queen had the baby in her arms. 
'Oh, the blessed one!' she cried, 'fairer ornament for 
the bosom of a queen than any necklace that ever was 
wrought. Write,' she continued, 'write to our neighbour 
and say that we cannot come to his feast, for we have 
a feast of our own, and a baby of our own! Oh, happy 

So the visit was given up; and, in honour of the new 
baby, the bells of the city, and* its guns, and its trumpets, 
and its people, small and great, had hardly any rest for 
a week; there was such a ringing, and banging, and blaring, 
and such fireworks, and feasting, and rejoicing, and merry- 
making, as had never been seen before. 

A few years went by; and, as the king's boy baby 
and his neighbour's girl baby grew and throve, the two 
kings arranged that as soon as they were old enough 
they should marry; and so, with much signing of papers 


and agreements, and wagging of wise heads, and stroking 
of grey beards, the compact was made, and signed, and 
sealed, and lay waiting for its fulfilment. And this too 
came to pass; for, as soon as the prince and princess 
were eighteen years of age, the kings agreed that it was 
time for the wedding; and the young prince journeyed 
away to the neighbouring kingdom for his bride, and 
was there married to her with great and renewed re- 

Now, I must tell you that the old woman who had 
sold the king the necklace had been called in by him to 
be the nurse of the young prince; and although she 
loved her charge dearly, and was a most faithful servant, 
she could not help talking just a little, and so, by-and-by, 
it began to be rumoured that there was some magic about 
the young prince's birth; and the rumour of course had 
come in due time to the ears of the parents of the 
princess. So now that she was going to be the wife of 
the prince, her mother (who was curious, as many other 
people are) said to her daughter on the eve of the 

'Remember that the first thing you must do is to 
find out what this story is about the prince. And in 
order to do it, you must not speak a word to him what- 
ever he says until he asks you why you are silent; then 
you must ask him what the truth is about his magic 
birth; and until he tells you, you must not speak to him 

And the princess promised that she would follow her 
mother's advice. 

Therefore when they were married, and the prince 
spoke to his bride, she did not answer him. He could 
not think what was the matter, but even about her old 
home she would not utter a word. At last he asked why 
she would not speak; and then she said: 

' Tell me the secret of your birth. ' 

Then the prince was very sad and displeased, and 


although she pressed him sorely he would not tell her, 
but always reply: 

'If I tell you, you will repent that ever you asked 

For several months they lived together; and it was not 
such a happy time for either as it ought to have been, for 
the secret was still a secret, and lay between them like a 
cloud between the sun and the earth, mating what should 
be fair, dull and sad. 






r JIM 








visits his Wife 


At length the prince could bear it no longer; so he said 
to his wife one day: 'At midnight I will tell you my secret 
if you still wish it; but you will repent it all your life. 1 How- 
ever, the princess was overjoyed that she had succeeded, 
and paid no attention to his warnings. 

That night the prince ordered horses to be ready for 
the princess and himself a little before midnight. He 
placed her on one, and mounted the other himself, and 
(hey rode together down to the river to the place wVvexft. 


the old woman had first found the snake in her brass pot. 
There the prince drew rein and said sadly: 'Do you still 
insist that I should tell you my secret?' And the princess 
answered 'Yes.' 'If I do,' answered the prince, 'remember 
that you will regret it all your life.' But the princess 
only replied 'Tell me!' 

'Then,' said the prince, 'know that I am the son of the 
king of a far country, but by enchantment I was turned 
into a snake.' 

The word 'snake* was hardly out of his lips when he 
disappeared, and the princess heard a rustle and saw a 
ripple on the water; and in the faint moonlight she beheld 
a snake swimming into the river. Soon it disappeared 
and she was left alone. In vain she waited with beating 
heart for something to happen, and for the prince to come 
back to her. Nothing happened and no one came; only 
the wind mourned through the trees on the river bank, 
and the night birds cried, and a jackal howled in the dis- 
tance, and the river flowed black and silent beneath her. 

In the morning they found her, weeping and dishev- 
elled, on the river bank; but no word could they learn 
from her or from anyone as to the fate of her husband. 
At her wish they built on the river bank a little house of 
black stone; and there she lived in mourning, with a few 
servants and guards to watch over her. 

A long, long time passed by, and still the princess lived 
in mourning for her prince, and saw no one, and went 
nowhere away from her house on the river bank and 
the garden that surrounded it. One morning, when she 
woke up, she found a stain of fresh mud upon the carpet. 
She sent for the guards, who watched outside the house 
day and night, and asked them who had entered her room 
while she was asleep. They declared that no one could 
have entered, for they kept such careful watch that not 
even a bird could fly in without their knowledge; but none 
of them could explain the stain of mud. The next morn- 
ing, again, the princess found another stain of wet mud, 


and she questioned everyone most carefully; but none 
could say how the mud came there. The third night 
the princess determined to lie awake herself and watch; 
and, for fear that she might fall asleep, she cut her finger 
with a penknife and rubbed salt into the cut, that the 
pain of it might keep her from sleeping. So she lay awake, 
and at midnight she saw a snake come wriggling along 
the ground with some mud from the river in its mouth; 
and when it came near the bed, it reared up its head and 
dropped its muddy head on the bedclothes. She was 
very frightened, but tried to control her fear, and called 

' Who are you, and what do you here ? ' 

And the snake answered: 

'I am the prince, your husband, and I am come to visit 

Then the princess began to weep; and the snake 

'Alas! did I not say that if I told you my secret you 
would repent it ? and have you not repented ? ' 

'Oh, indeed!' cried the poor princess, 'I have repented 
it, and shall repent it all my life! Is there nothing I can 

And the snake answered: 

* Yes, there is one thing, if you dared to do it. ' 

'Only tell me/ said the princess, 'and I will do any- 
thing I ' 

'Then,' replied the snake, 'on a certain night you 
must put a large bowl of milk and sugar in each of the 
four corners of this room. All the snakes in the river 
will come out to drink the milk, and the one that leads 
the way will be the queen of the snakes. You must 
stand in her way at the door, and say: "Oh, Queen of 
Snakes, Queen of Snakes, give me back my husband!" 
and perhaps she will do it. But if you are frightened, 
and do not stop her, you will never see me again/ And 
he glided away. 


On the night of which the snake had told her, the 
princess got four large bowls of milk and sugar, and put 
one in each corner of the room, and stood in the doorwav 
waiting. At midnight there was a great hissing and 
rustling from the direction of the river, and presently the 
ground appeared to be alive with horrible writhing forms 
of snakes, whose eves glittered and forked tongues 
quivered as they moved on in the direction of the 
princess's house. Foremost among them was a huge, 
repulsive scaly creature that led the dreadful procession. 
The guards were so terrified that they all ran away; but 
the princess stood in the doorway, as white as death, and 
with her hands clasped tight together for fear she should 
scream or faint, and faO to do her part. As they came 
closer and saw her in the way, all the snakes raised their 
horrid heads and swayed them to and fro, and looked at 
her with wicked beadv eves, while their breath seemed to 
poison the very air. Still the princess stood firm, and, 
when the leading snake was within a few feet of her, she 
cried: 'Oh, Queen of Snakes, Queen of Snakes, give me 
back my husband!' Then all the rustling, writhing crowd 
of snakes seemed to whisper to one another * Her husband ? 
her husband?' But the queen of snakes moved on until 
her head was almost in the princess's face, and her little 
eyes seemed to flash fire. And still the princess stood 
in the doorwav and never moved, but cried again: *Oh, 
Queen of Snakes, Queen of Snakes, give me back my 
husband!' Then the queen of snakes replied: 'To- 
morrow vou shall have him — to-morrow ! ? When 
she heard these words and knew that she had conquered, 
the princess staggered from the door, and sank upon her 
bed and fainted. As in a dream, she saw that her room 
was full of snakes, all jostling and squabbling over the 
bowls of milk until it was finished. And then they went 

In the morning the princess was up early, and took 
off the mourning dress which she had worn for five 


whole years, and put on gay and beautiful clothes. And 
she swept the house and cleaned it, and adorned it with 
garlands and nosegays of sweet flowers and ferns, and 
prepared it as though she were making ready for her wed- 
ding. And when night fell she lit up the woods and gardens 
with lanterns, and spread a table as for a feast, and lit 
in the house a thousand wax candles. Then she waited 
for her husband, not knowing in what shape he would 
appear. And at midnight there came striding from the 
river the prince, laughing, but with tears in his eyes; and 
she ran to meet him, and threw herself into his arms, crying 
and laughing too. 

So the prince came home; and the next day they two 
went back to the palace, and the old king wept with joy 
to see them. And the bells, so long silent, were set 
a-ringing again, and the guns firing, and the trumpets blaring, 
and there was fresh feasting and rejoicing. 

And the old woman who had been the prince's nurse 
became nurse to the prince's children — at least she was 
called so; though she was far too old to do anything for 
them but love them. Yet she still thought that she was 
useful, and knew that she was happy. And happy, 
indeed, were the prince and princess, who in due time 
became king and queen, and lived and ruled long and 

(Major Campbell, Feroshepore.) 


There were, once upon a time, a king and queen of 
Denmark who had an only son, a handsome and clever 
lad. When he was eighteen, his father, the old king, fell 
very ill, and there was no hope that he would ever get 
well again. The queen and the prince were very unhappy, 
for they loved him dearly; but though they did all they 
could, he only grew worse and worse, and, one day, when 
the summer had come and the birds were singing, he raised 
his head and, taking a long look out of the window, fell 
back dead. 

During many weeks the queen could hardly eat or 
sleep, so sorely did she grieve for him, and the prince 
feared that she would die also if she went on weeping; 
so he begged her to go with him to a beautiful place 
that he knew of on the other side of the forest, and 
after some time she consented. The prince was over- 
joyed, and arranged that they should set off early next 

They travelled all day, only stopping now and then to 
rest, and already the queen began to be better and to take 
a little interest in the things she saw. Just as the evening 
was coming on they entered the forest. Here it was quite 
dark, for the trees grew so close together that the sun could 
not shine through them, and very soon they lost the path, 
and wandered helplessly about wondering what they should 

'If we sleep in this dreadful place/ said the queen, 


who was tired and frightened, 'the wild beasts will eat 
us. J And she began to cry. 

'Cheer up, mother/ answered her son, 'I have a feeling 
that luck is coming to us.' And at the next turning they 
came to a little house, in the window of which a light was 

'Didn't I tell you so?' cried the prince. 'Stay here a 
moment and I will go and see if I can get food and shelter 
for the night.' And away he ran as fast as he could go, 
for by this time they were very hungry, as they had brought 
very little food with them and had eaten up every scrap! 
When one takes a long journey on foot one does not like 
to have too much to carry. 

The prince entered the house and looked about him, 
going from one room to the other, but seeing nobody and 
finding nothing to eat. At last, as he was going sorrow- 
fully away, he caught sight of a sword and shirt of mail 
hanging on the wall in an inner room, with a piece of paper 
fastened under them. On the paper was some writing, 
which said that whoever wore the coat and carried the sword 
would be safe from all danger. 

The prince was so delighted at the sight that he forgot 
how hungry he was, and instantly slipped on the coat of 
chain armour under his tunic, and hid the sword under his 
cloak, for he did not mean to say anything about what 
he had found. Then he went back to his mother, who was 
waiting impatiently for him. 

'What have you been doing all this time?' she asked 
angrily. 'I thought you had been killed by robbers !' 

'Oh, just looking round/ he answered; 'but though I 
searched everywhere I could find nothing to eat.' 

'I am very much afraid that it is a robbers' den,' said 
the queen. ' We had better go on, hungry though we 

' No, it isn't; but still, we had better not stay here,' replied 
the prince, 'especially as there is nothing to eat. Perhaps 
we shall find another house.' 



They went on for some time, until, sure enough, they 
came to another house, which also had a light in the 

'Well go in here/ said the prince. 

'No, no; I am afraid!' cried the queen. 'We shall 
be attacked and killed! It is a robbers' den: I am sure 
it is!' 

'Yes, it looks like it; but we can't help that,' said her son. 
' We have had nothing to eat for hours, and I'm nearly as 
tired as you.' 

The poor queen was, indeed, quite worn out; she could 
hardly stand for fatigue, and in spite of her terror was half 
anxious to be persuaded. 

' And there's going to be a storm,' added the prince; who 
feared nothing now that he had the sword. 

So they went into the house, where they found nobody. 
In the first room stood a table laid for a meal, with all 
sorts of good things to eat and drink, though some of the 
dishes were empty. 

'Well, this looks nice,' said the prince, sitting down 
and helping himself to some delicious strawberries piled 
on a golden dish, and some iced lemonade. Never had 
anything tasted so nice; but, all the same, it was a robbers' 
den they had come to, and the robbers, who had only just 
dined, had gone out into the forest to see whom they could 

When the queen and the prince could eat no more 
they remembered that they were very tired, and the prince 
looked about till he discovered a comfortable bed, with 
silken sheets, standing in the next room. 

'You get into bed, mother,' he said, 'and I'll lie down 
by the side. Don't be alarmed; you can sleep quite safely 
till the morning.' And he lay down with his sword in 
his hand, and kept watch until the day began to break; 
then the queen woke up and said she was quite rested and 
ready to start again. 

'First I'll go out into the forest and see if I can find 


our road,' said the prince. 'And while I'm gone you light 
the fire and make some coffee. We must eat a good break- 
fast before we start.' 

And he ran off into the wood. 

After he had gone the queen lit the fire, and then thou.^*. 


she would like to see what was in the other rooms; so she 
went from one to another, and presently came to one that 
was very prettily furnished, with lovely pictures on the 
walls, and pale blue curtains and soft yellow cushions and 
comfortable easy chairs. As she was looking at all 
these things, suddenly a trap-door opened in the floor, 
and the robber-chief came out of the hole and seized her 
ancles. The queen almost died of fright, and shrieked 
loudly, then fell on her knees and begged him to spare 
her life. 

'Yes, if you will promise me two things,' he replied; 
'first that you will take me home to your country and 
let me be crowned king instead of your son; and secondly, 
that you will kill him in case he should try to take the 
throne from me — if you will not agree to this I shall kill 

'Kill my own son!' gasped the queen, staring at him 
in horror. 

'You need not do that exactly/ said the robber. 'When 
he returns, just lie on the bed and say that you have been 
taken ill, and add that you have dreamed that in a forest, 
a mile away, there are some beautiful apples. If you could 
only get some of these you would be well again, but if not 
you will die.' 

The queen shuddered as she listened. She was fond 
of her son, but she was a terrible coward; and so in the 
end she agreed, hoping that something would occur to save 
the prince. She had hardly given her promise when a step 
was heard, and the robber hastily hid himself. 

'Well, mother,' cried the prince as he entered, 'I have 
been through the forest and found the road, so we will start 
directly we have had some breakfast.' 

'Oh, I feel so ill!' said the queen. 'I could not walk 
a single step; and there is only one thing that will cure 

'What is that?' asked the prince. 

'I dreamed,' answered the queen, in a faint voice, 


' that, a mile away, there is a forest where the most beautiful 
apples grow, and if I could have some of them I should 
soon be well again.' 

'Oh! but dreams don't mean anything,' said the prince. 
'There is a magician who lives near here. I'll go to him 
and ask for a spell to cure you.' 

'My dreams always mean something,' said the queen, 
shaking her head. 'If I don't get any apples I shall die.' 
She did not know why the robber wanted to send the prince 
to this particular forest, but as a matter of fact it was full 
of wild animals who would tear to pieces any traveller who 
entered it. 

'Well, I'll go,' answered the prince. 'But I really 
must have some breakfast first; I shall walk all the 

'If you do not hurry you will find me dead when you 
come back,' murmured the queen fretfully. She thought 
her son was not nearly anxious enough about her, and 
by this time she had begun to believe that she really was 
as ill as she had said. 

When the prince had eaten and drunk, he set off, and 
soon came to a forest, and sure enough it was full of lions 
and tigers, and bears and wolves, who came rushing towards 
him; but instead of springing on him and tearing him to 
pieces, they lay down on the ground and licked his hands. 
He speedily found the tree with the apples which his mother 
wanted, but the branches were so high he could not reach 
them, and there was no way of climbing up the smooth 

'It is no use after all, I can't get up there,' he said to 
himself. ' What am I to do now ? ' 

But, as he turned away, his sword chanced to touch the 
tree, and immediately two apples fell down. He picked 
them up joyfully, and was going away when a little dog 
came out of a hill close by, and running up to him, began 
tugging at his clothes and whining. 


'What do you want, little dog?' asked the prince, stoop- 
ing down to pat his soft black head. 

The dog ran to a hole that was in the hill and sat there 
looking out, as much as to say: 'Come along in with 

'I may as well go and see what is in there/ thought 
the prince, and he went over to the hill. But the 
hole was so small that he could not get through it, 
ho he thrust his sword into it, and immediately it became 

'Ha, ha!' he chuckled; 'it's worth something to have 
a sword like that.' And he bent down and crept through 
the hole. 

The first tiling he beheld, when he entered a room at 
the very end of a dark passage, was a beautiful princess, 
who was bound by an iron chain to an iron pillar. 

'What evil fate brought you here?' he asked in surprise: 
and the lady answered: 

* 1 1 isn't much use for me to tell you lest my lot becomes 

' 1 am not afraid of that. Tell me who you are and 
what has brought you here,' begged the prince. 

'My st«»ry is not long,' she said, smiling sadly. 'I am 
a print ess from Arabia, and twelve robbers who dwell in 
this phuv are fighting among themselves as to which shall 
have me to wife' 

'Shall 1 save you?' asked the prince. And she 

'Yes; but you can't do it. To begin with, how could 
you break the chain I am bound with?' 

'Oh, that's easy enough,' said he, taking out his sword; 
and directly it touched the chain the links fell apart and 
the princess was free. 

'Come!' said the prince, taking her hand. But she drew 

'No, I dare not!' she cried. 'If we should meet the 
robbers in the passage they would kill us both.' 


'Not they!' said the prince, brandishing his sword. 'But 
how long have you been here?' he added quickly. 

' About twenty years, I think,' said the princess, reckoning 
with her fingers. 

'Twenty years!' exclaimed the prince. 'Then you had 
better shut your eyes, for when you have been sitting 
there so long it might hurt you to go too suddenly into 
the daylight. So you are the Princess of Arabia, whose 
beauty is famous throughout all the world! I, too, am 
a prince.' 

'Will you not come back to Arabia and marry me, now 
you have saved my life ? * asked the princess. 'Even if 
my father is living still, he must be old, and after his 
death you can be king.' 

'No,' replied the prince, 'I cannot do that — I must 
live and die in my own country. But at the end of a year 
I will follow you and marry you.' And that was all he 
would say. 

Then the princess took a heavy ring from her finger 
and put it on his. Her father's and her mother's names 
were engraved in it, as well as her own, and she asked 
him to keep it as a reminder of his promise. 

'I will die before I part from it,' said the prince. 'And 
if at the end of a year I am still living, I will come. I 
believe I have heard that at the other side of this forest 
there is a port from which ships sail to Arabia. Let us 
hasten there at once.' 

Hand in hand they set off through the forest, and when 
they came to the port they found a ship just ready to sail. 
The princess said good-bye to the prince, and went on 
board the vessel, and when she reached her own country 
there were great rejoicings, for her parents had never 
expected to see her again. She told them how a prince had 
saved her from the robbers, and was coming in a year's 
time to marry her, and they were greatly pleased. 

'All the same,' said the king, 'I wish he were here now. 
A year is a long time.' 


When the princess was no longer before his eyes, the 
prince recollected why he had entered the forest, and made 
all the haste he could back to the robbers' home. 

The robber-chief could smell the apples from afar, for 
he had a nose like an ogre, and he said to the queen : 

' That is a strange fellow ! If he had gone into the forest 
the wild beasts must have eaten him unless he has a power- 
ful charm to protect him. If that is so we must get it 
away from him.' 

* No, he has nothing,' answered the queen, who was quite 
fascinated by the robber. 

But the robber did not believe her. 

'We must think of a way to get it,' he said. 'When 
he comes in say you are w r ell again, and have some food 
ready for him. Then, whilst he is eating, tell him you 
dreamed that he was attacked by wild beasts, and ask 
him how he managed to escape from them. After he 
has told you I can easily find a wav to take his charm 
from him.' 

Shortly after the prince came in. 

'How are you, mother !' he said gaily. 'Here are your 
apples. Now you will soon be well again, and ready to 
come away with me.' 

'Oh, I am better already/ she said. 'And see, your 
dinner is all hot for you, eat it up, and then we will 

Whilst he was eating she said to him: 'I had a horrible 
dream while you were awav. I saw vou in a forest full 
of wild animals, and they were running round you and 
growling fiercely. How did you manage to escape from 
them ? ' 

' Oh, it was only a dream!' laughed the prince. 

'But my dreams are always true,' said his mother. 'Tell 
me how it was.' 

The prince wondered for some time whether he should 
tell her or not, but at last he decided to let her into the 


'One should tell one's mother everything,' he thought. 
And he told her. 

'See, mother, here are a sword and a mail shirt which 
I found in the first house we entered in the forest, and as 
long as I carry them nothing can hurt me. That is what 
saved me from the wild beasts.' 

'How can I be thankful enough!' exclaimed the queen. 
And directly the prince's back was turned, she hurried to 
tell the robber. 

The robber, as soon as he heard the news, made a sleeping- 
draught, and bade the queen give it to her son before he 
went to bed that night. 

Accordingly, as soon as the prince began to get 
sleepy, the queen handed him the cup containing the 

'Drink this, to please me,' she said. 'It will do you 
good after all you've gone through, and make you sleep 

'What an odd taste it has!' murmured the prince as he 
drank it. 

Immediately he fell asleep; and the robber came in and 
took away his sword and shirt of mail. 

'These things belong to my brother,' he said. After he 
had got them both in his hand the robber woke him. 

'I am the master now,' said he. 'Choose one of two 
things — either you must die, or your eyes will be put out, 
and you will be sent back to the forest.' 

The prince's blood grew cold at these words. Then a 
thought struck him, and he turned to his mother: 'Is this 
your doing?' he asked sternly. And though she burst 
into tears and denied it, the prince knew she was not telling 
the truth. 

'Well,' said he, '"whilst there is life there is hope." I 
will go back to the forest.' 

Then the robber put out his eyes, gave him a stick, 
and some food and drink, and drove him into the forest 


hoping that the wild beasts would kill him, as he no longer 
had the sword and shirt to protect him. 

'Now/ he said to the queen, 'we will return to your 

The next day they set sail, and as soon as they 
reached home, they were married, and the robber became . 

Meanwhile the poor prince was wandering about in 
the forest, hoping to find someone who would help him, 
and perhaps take him into service, for now he had no 
money and no home. It so happened that there had 
been a great hunt in the forest, and the wild beasts had 
all fled before the hunters and were hiding, so nothing 
did him any harm. At last one day, just when his food 
was all gone and he had made up his mind that he must 
surely die of hunger, he came to the port whence the 
ships sailed for Arabia. One vessel was just ready to 
start, and the captain was going on board when he saw 
the prince. 

'Why, here is a poor blind fellow!' he said. 'No doubt 
that is the work of the robbers. Let us take him to Arabia 
with us. Would you like to come, my good man ?' he asked 
the prince. 

Oh, how glad he was to hear someone speak kindly to 
him again! And he answered that he would, and the 
sailors helped him to climb up the side of the ship. When 
they got to Arabia the captain took him to the public baths, 
and ordered one of the slaves to wash him. Whilst he 
was being washed the princess's ring slipped off his finger 
and was afterwards found by the slave who cleaned out 
the bath. The man showed it to a friend of his who lived 
at the palace. 

'Why, it is the princess's ring!' he said. 'Where did it 
come from?' 

'It fell off a blind man's finger,' said the slave. 'He 
must have stolen it; but I dare say you will be able to return 
h to the princess.' 


So that evening the man took the ring to the palace 
and gave it to his daughter, who was the princess's favourite 
slave, and the girl gave it to her mistress. When the 
princess saw it she uttered a cry of joy. 

'It is the ring I gave my betrothed!' she said. 'Take 
me to him at once.' 

The bath-keeper thought it strange that the princess 
should be betrothed to a blind beggar, but he did as she 
bade him, and when she saw the prince she cried: 

'At last you have come! The year is over, and I thought 
you were dead. Now we will be married immediately. ' 
And she went home and told the king that he was to send 
an escort to bring her betrothed to the palace. Naturally 
the king was rather surprised at the sudden arrival of the 
prince; but when he heard that he was blind he was very 
much annoyed. 

'I cannot have a blind person to succeed me,' he said. 
'It is perfectly absurd!' 

But the princess had had her own way all her life, and 
in the end the king gave way as he had always done. The 
prince was taken to the palace with much ceremony and 
splendour; but in spite of this the king was not contented. 
Still, it could not be helped, and really it was time the prin- 
cess was married, though she looked as young as ever. 
There had been hundreds of knights and princes who had 
begged her to bestow her hand upon them, but she would 
have nothing to do with anyone; and now she had taken 
it into her head to marry this blind prince, and nobody else 
would she have. 

One evening, as it was fine, the prince and princess went 
into the garden, and sat down under a tree. 

Two ravens were perched on a bush near by, and the 
prince, who could understand bird language, heard one 
of them say: 'Do you know that it is Midsummer-eve 
to-night ? ' 

' Yes,' said the other. 


' And do you know that part of the garden which is known 
as the Queen's Bed?' 

' Yes.' 

'Well, perhaps you don't know this, that whoever has 
bad eyes, or no eyes at all, should bathe his eye-sockets 
in the dew that falls there to-night, because then he will 
get his sight back. Only he must do it between twelve 
and one o'clock. ' 

That was good news for the prince and princess to hear, 
and the young man begged the princess to lead him to 
the place called the Queen's Bed, which was the little 
plot of grass where the queen used often to lie down 
and take her midday nap. Then, between twelve and 
one o'clock, he bathed his eyes with the dew that was 
falling there, and found he could see again as well as 

'I can see you!' he said to the princess, gazing at her 
as if he had never seen anything before. 

'I don't believe it,' she answered. 

'Well, go and hang your handkerchief on a bush, and 
if I find it at once you must believe me,' he said. 

And so she did, and he went straight up to the hand- 

'Yes, indeed, you can see,' cried the princess. 'To 
think that my mother's bed has really given back your 
sight!' and she went to the bank and sat down again; 
and by-and-by, as the day was hot, the princess fell asleep. 
As the prince watched her he suddenly saw something 
shining on her neck. It was a little golden lamp that 
gave out a bright light, and it hung from a golden chain. 
The prince thought he would like to examine it more closely, 
so he unfastened the chain, but as he did so the lamp fell 
to the ground. Before he could pick it up a hawk flew in, 
snatched up the little lamp and flew away again with it. 
The prince set off in pursuit, and ran on and on without 
being able to catch the bird, until at length he had lost 
his way. Trying to find it, he wandered on, up and 


down, until he came to the forest where he had found 
the princess. 

Meantime, the princess woke up, and finding herself 
alone she set out to look for him. In the end she also 
lost her way, and as she was walking about, not knowing 
what to do, the robbers captured her and took her back 
to the cave from which the prince had rescued her. So 

there they were after all their trouble — no better off than 

The prince wandered on, trying to find his way back 
to Arabia, until he chanced one day to meet twelve youths, 
walking gaily through the forest, singing and laughing. 
'Where are you going? 'he asked. And they told him they 
were looking for work. 


'I'll join you, if I may,' said the prince. And they 
answered: 'The more the merrier. ' 

Then the prince went with them, and they all journeyed 
on until they met an old troll. 

'Where are you going, my masters ?' asked the troll. 

'To seek service/ they told him. 

'Then come and serve me/ he said; 'there will be plenty 
to eat and drink, and not much work to do, and if, at the 
end of a year, you can answer three questions, I'll give you 
each a sack of gold. Otherwise you must be turned into 

The youths thought this sounded easy enough, so they 
went home with the troll to his castle. 

'You will find all that you want here,' he said; 'and 
all you need do is to take care of the house, for I am going 
away, and shall only return when the year is over.' 

Then he went away, and the young men, left to them- 
selves, had a fine time of it; for they did no work, and 
only amused themselves with singing and drinking. 
Every day they found the table laid with good things to 
eat and drink, and when they had finished, the plates 
and dishes were cleared away by invisible hands. Only 
the prince, who was sad for his lost princess, ate and 
drank sparingly, and worked hard keeping the house in 

One day, as he sat in his own room, he heard the voice 
of the old troll beneath his window talking to another 

'To-morrow,' said he, ' the year is up.' 

'And what questions will you ask?' inquired the 

' First I shall ask how long they have been here — they 
don't know, the young fools! Secondly I shall ask what 
shines on the roof of the castle.' 

'And what is that?' 

'The lamp that was stolen by me from the princess as 
she slept in the garden.' 


'And what is the third question?' 

'I shall ask where the food and drink they consume 
every day come from. I steal it from the king's table; 
but they don't know that.' 

The day after, the troll entered. 

' Now I shall ask my questions,' said he. ' To begin with: 
How long have you been here?' 

The young men had been so busy drinking and making 
merry that they had forgotten all about the agreement, so 
they remained silent. 

' One week,' said one, at last. 

'Two months,' guessed another. But the prince an- 
swered, ' One year.' 

'Right,' replied the troll. But the second question was 
more difficult. 

'What is it that shines on the roof?' 

The young men guessed and guessed. ' The sun — the 
moon.' But none of them really knew. 

' May I answer ? ' asked the prince. 

'Yes, certainly,' replied the troll; and the prince 

'The lamp that you stole from the princess whilst 
she was asleep in the garden.' And again the troll 

The third question was harder still. 

' Where does the meat and drink you have had here come 

None of the young men could guess. 

'May I say?' asked the prince. 

'Yes, if you can,' replied the troll. 

' It comes from the king's table,' said the prince. 

And that was all. Now they might take the sacks of 
gold and go, and the young men went off in such a hurry 
that the prince was left behind. Presently, they met an 
old man who asked for money. 

'No, we haven't any,' they answered. 


So they hurried on, and by-and-by up came the 

'Has your lordship a piece of money for a poor man?' 
asked the old fellow. 

'Yes,' said the prince, and gave him his whole sack- 

'I don't want it/ said the old man, who was really the 
troll they had just left in disguise. 'But since you're 
so generous, here is the princess's lamp, and the princess 
herself is in the cave where you found her; but how you're 
going to save her again without the magic sword I don't 

When he heard that, the prince knew where she 
was; and that was the beginning of her rescue. So he 
disguised himself to look like a peddler and travelled on 
until he reached his own city, where his mother, the 
queen, and the robber-chief were living. Then he went 
in to a goldsmith's shop and ordered a great number 
of kitchen pots to be made out of pure gold. That was 
not an order the goldsmith had every day, but the 
things were ready at last, saucepans and kettles and 
gridirons all of pure gold. Then the prince put them in 
his basket and went up to the palace, and asked to see 
the queen. 

Directly she heard about the wonderful gold pots and 
pans she came out at once, and began unpacking the basket 
and admiring the things. She was so absorbed in them 
that the prince soon found an opportunity to steal into 
the bedroom and take the sword and shirt which were 
hung there, and go back again without his mother having 
noticed his absence. 

'The things are all beautiful!' she said. 'How much 
would you take for them ? ' 

'Name your own price, your majesty,' answered the 

'I really don't know what to say,' said the queen. 'Wait 
till my husband comes back — men understand such things 


better; and then, as you are a stranger, he would like to 
chat with you a little.' The prince bowed, and waited 
silently in a corner. 

Soon after the robber returned. 

'Come and see all these lovely gold saucepans !' cried the 

But, as the robber entered the room, the prince 
touched him with the magic sword, and he fell to the 

'Perhaps, now you know me, mother, ' the prince said, 
taking off his disguise, 'you had better repent for all 
the wrong you have done me, or your life will be short.' 

'Oh, have mercy!' she cried, 'I could not help it. I was 
so frightened.' 

The prince had mercy. He ordered the wicked king 
to be stripped of his fine clothes, and to be driven into 
the forest, where the wild beasts tore him to pieces. The 
queen he sent to her own country. Then he set off for the 
cave where the princess was sitting chained as before, and 
with the help of the magic sword he rescued her again 
without any difficulty. They soon reached the port and 
set sail for Arabia, where they were married; and till they 
died, a long while after, they reigned happily over both 

(Fra Eventyr Jra Gylbauck samlede og optegnede aj Evald Taug Kri ensen. 
Translated from the Danish by Mrs. Skovgaard Pedersen.) 


Once upon a time the king of a far country was sitting 
on his throne, listening to the complaints of his people, 
and judging between them. That morning there had 
been fewer cases than usual to deal with, and the king 
was about to rise and go into his gardens, when a sudden 
stir was heard outside, and the lord high chamberlain 
entered, and inquired if his majesty would be graciously 
pleased to receive the ambassador of a powerful emperor 
who lived in the east, and was greatly feared by the 
neighbouring sovereigns. The king, who stood as much 
in dread of him as the rest, gave orders that the envoy 
should be admitted at once, and that a banquet should 
be prepared in his honour. Then he settled himself 
again on his throne, wondering what the envoy had to 

The envoy said nothing. He advanced to the throne 
where the king was awaiting him, and stooping down, 
traced on the floor with a rod which he held in his hand 
a black circle all round it. Then he sat down on a seat 
that was near, and took no further notice of anyone. 

The king and his courtiers were equally mystified 
and enraged at this strange behaviour, but the envoy sat 
as calm and still as an image, and it soon became plain 
that they would get no explanation from him. The min- 
isters were hastily summoned to a council, but not one of 
them could throw any light upon the subject. This made 
the king more angry than ever, and he told them that unless 
before sunset they could find someone capable of solving the 
mystery he would hang them all. 


The king was, as the ministers knew, a man of his 
word; and they quickly mapped out the city into districts, 
so that they might visit house by house, and question 
the occupants as to whether they could fathom the 
action of the ambassador. Most of them received no 
reply except a puzzled stare; but, luckily, one of them 
was more observant than the rest, and on entering an 
empty cottage where a swing was swinging of itself, he 
began to think it might be worth while for him to see 
the owner. Opening a door leading into another room, 
he found a second swing, swinging gently like the first, 
and from the window he beheld a patch of corn, and a 
willow which moved perpetually without any wind, in 
order to frighten away the sparrows. Feeling more and 
more curious, he descended the stairs and found himself 
in a large light workshop in which .was seated a weaver 
at his loom. But all the weaver did was to guide his 
threads, for the machine that he had invented to set in 
motion the swings and the willow pole made the loom 

When he saw the great wheel standing in the corner, 
and had guessed the use of it, the merchant heaved a 
sigh of relief. At any rate, if the weaver could not guess 
the riddle, he at least might put the minister on the right 
track. So without more ado he told the story of the 
circle, and ended by declaring that the person who could 
explain its meaning should be handsomely rewarded. 

Tome with me at once/ he said. 'The sun is low in 
the heavens, and there is no time to lose/ 

The weaver stood thinking for a moment and then 
walked across to a window, outside of which was a hen- 
coop with two knuckle-bones lying beside it. These he 
picked up, and taking the hen from the coop, he tucked 
it under his arm. 

' I am ready,' he answered, turning to the minister. 

In the hall the king still sat on his throne, and the 
envoy on his seat. Signing to the minister to remain 


where he was, the weaver advanced to the envoy, and 
placed the knuckle-bones on the floor beside him. For 
answer, the envoy took a handful of millet seed out of 
his pocket and scattered it round; upon which the 
weaver set down the hen, who ate it up in a moment. 
At that the envoy rose without a word, and took his 

As soon as he had left the hall, the king beckoned to the 

'You alone seem to have guessed the riddle/ said he, 
'and great shall be your reward. But tell me, I pray you, 
what it all means?' 

'The meaning, O king,' replied the weaver, 'is this: 
The circle drawn by the envoy round your throne is the 
message of the emperor, and signifies, "If I send an army 
and surround your capital, will you lay down your arms ? " 
The knuckle-bones which I placed before him told him, 
"You are but children in comparison with us. Toys 
like these are the only playthings you are fit for." The 
millet that he scattered was an emblem of the number 
of soldiers that his master can bring into the field; but 
by the hen which ate up the seed he understood that one 
of our men could destroy a host of theirs.' 

'I do not think,' he added, 'that the emperor will declare 

'You have saved me and my honour,' cried the king, 
'and wealth and glory shall be heaped upon you. Name 
your reward, and you shall have it even to the half of my 

'The small farm outside the city gates, as a marriage 
portion for my daughter, is all I ask,' answered the weaver, 
and it was all he would accept. ' Only, O king,' were his 
parting words, ' I would beg of you to remember that weavers 
also are of value to a state, and that they are sometimes 
cleverer even than ministers!' 

(From Conies Armlniens. Par Fr&ilric Macler.) 


The robbers stopped drinking and eyed him curiously, 
and at last the captain spoke. 

'No caravan of armed men would dare to come here, 
even the very birds shun our camp, and who are you to 
venture in so boldly?' 

'Oh, I have left my mother's house in search of fear. 
Perhaps you can show it to me ? ' 

' Fear is wherever we are/ answered the captain. 

'But where? 9 asked the boy, looking round. 'I see 

' Take this pot and some flour and butter and sugar over 
to the churchyard which lies down there, and bake us a 
cake for supper,' replied the robber. And the boy, who 
was by this time quite warm, jumped up cheerfully, and 
slinging the pot over his arm, ran down the hill. 

When he got to the churchyard he collected some sticks 
and made a fire; then he filled the pot with water from a 
little stream close by, and mixing the flour and butter and 
sugar together, he set the cake on to cook. It was not long 
before it grew crisp and brown, and then the boy lifted it 
from the pot and placed it on a stone, while he put out the 
fire. At that moment a hand was stretched from a grave, 
and a voice said: 

'Is that cake for me?' 

'Do you think I am going to give to the dead the food 
of the living?' replied the boy, with a laugh. And 
giving the hand a tap with his spoon, and picking up 
the cake, he went up the mountain side, whistling 

'Well, have you found fear?' asked the robbers when he 
held out the cake to the captain. 

'No; was it there?' answered the boy. 'I saw noth- 
ing but a hand which came from a grave, and belonged 
to someone who wanted my cake, but I just rapj)ed the 
fingers with my spoon, and said it was not for him, and 
then the hand vanished. Oh, how nice the fire is!' And 
he flung himself on his knees before it, and so did not 


notice the glances of surprise cast by the robbers at each 

'There is another chance for you,' said one at length. 
'On the other side of the mountain lies a deep pool; go 
to that, and perhaps you may meet fear on the way.' 

'I hope so, indeed/ answered the boy. And he set out 
at once. 

He soon beheld the waters of the pool gleaming in the 
moonlight, and as he drew near he saw a tall swing standing 
just over it, and in the swing a child was seated, weeping 

'That is a strange place for a swing/ thought the boy; 
'but I wonder what he is crying about.' And he was 
hurrying on towards the child, when a maiden ran up and 
spoke to him. 

'I want to lift my little brother from the swing/ cried 
she, 'but it is so high above me, that I cannot reach. If 
you will get closer to the edge of the pool, and let me mount 
on your shoulder, I think I can reach him.' 

'Willingly/ replied the boy, and in an instant the girl 
had climbed to his shoulders. But instead of lifting 
the child from the swing, as she could easily have done, 
she pressed her feet so firmly on either side of the youth's 
neck, that he felt that in another minute he would be 
choked, or else fall into the water beneath him. So 
gathering up all his strength, he gave a mighty heave, 
and threw the girl backwards. As she touched the ground 
a bracelet fell from her arm, and this the youth picked 

' I may as well keep it as a remembrance of all the queer 
things that have happened to me since I left home/ he said 
to himself, and turning to look for the child, he saw that 
both it and the swing had vanished, and that the first streaks 
of dawn were in the sky. 

With the bracelet on his arm, the youth started for a 
little town which was situated in the plain on the further 
side of the mountain, and as, hungry and thirsty, he 


entered its principal street, a Jew stopped him. * Where 
rlirl ynii get that bracelet?' asked the Jew. 'It belongs 
to me.' 

1 No, it is mine,* replied the boy. 

' ft is not. Give it to me at once, or it will be the worse 
for you!* cried the Jew. 

' \A't us go before a judge, and tell him our stories,' said 
the boy. * If he decides in your favour, you shall have it; 
if in mine, I. will keep it! 1 

To Ibis the Jew agreed, and the two went together to 
the hall, in which the kadi was administering justice. 
He listened very carefully to what each had to say, and then 
pronounced his verdict. Neither of the two claimants had 
proved liis right to the bracelet, therefore it must remain 
in the possession of the judge till its fellow was brought 
before him. 

When they heard this, the Jew and the boy looked at 
each other, and their eyes said: * Where are we to go to find 
the other oue? f lint as thev knew there was no use in 
disputing the decision, they bowed low and left the hall 
of audience. 

W.mdcriim he knew not whither, the vouth found him- 
self on the ^c.i shore. At a little distance was a ship which 
had stunk on a hidden rock, and was rapidly sinking, 
while on deck the crew were gathered, with faces white 
as i lea tli. shrieking and wringing their hands. 

'Have you met with fear.-" shouted the boy. And the 
answer * a me abo\o the noise of ihe waves. 

'Oh. help' help! We are drowning!* 

Then die box \h\"\\ oil" his eloihes. and swam to the 
Oiip. where nu:*-\ hands were held out to draw him on 


• p v Jv:» \ tossed h-Yvr a:\l : :, i:hor. .ir.d will soon be 
*;:. Ned «:.•»■•; , vied rv c;vw .■.;.■ : .". ' l\\i:h i> very near, 
avd we .-"v frghivncd""' 

' ii w *v.c j. roiv.' sj.-d ;'.v Vox i:i re:\v. a,:ui he took 



it, and made it safe round his body at one end, and to 
the mast at the other, and sprang into the sea. Down 
he went, down, down, down, till at last his feet touched 
the bottom, and he stood up and looked, about him. 
There, sure enough, a sea-maiden with a wicked face 
was tugging hard at a chain which she had fastened to 
the ship with a grappling iron, and was dragging it bit 
by bit beneath the waves. Seizing her arms in both his 
hands, he forced her to drop the chain, and the ship 
above remaining steady, the sailors were able gently to 
float her off the rock. Then taking a rusty knife from 
a heap of seaweed at his feet, he cut the rope round his 
waist and fastened the sea-maiden firmly to a stone, so 
that she could do no more mischief, and bidding her 
farewell, he swam back to the beach, where his clothes 
were still lying. 

The youth dressed himself quickly and walked on 
till he came to a beautiful shady garden filled with 
flowers, and with a clear little stream running through. 
The day was hot, and he was tired, so he entered 
the gate, and seated himself under a clump of bushes 
covered with sweet-smelling red blossoms, and it was 
not long before he fell asleep. Suddenly a rush of 
wings and a cool breeze awakened him, and raising his 
head cautiously, he saw three doves plunging into the 
stream. They splashed joyfully about, and shook them- 
selves, and then dived to the bottom of a deep pool. 
When they appeared again they were no longer three 
doves, but three beautiful damsels, bearing between them 
a table made of mother of pearl. On this they placed 
drinking cups fashioned from pink and green shells, and 
one of the maidens filled a cup from a crystal goblet, 
and was raising it to her mouth, when her sister stopped 

* To whose health do you drink ? ' asked she. 

'To the youth who prepared the cake, and rapped 
my hand with the spoon when I stretched it out of the 



earth,' answered the maiden, 'and was never afraid as 
other men were! But to whose health do you drink ?' 

'To the youth on whose shoulders I climbed at the edge 
of the pool, and who threw me off with such a jerk, that I 
lay unconscious on the ground for hours,' replied the second. 
'But you, my sister,' added she, turning to the third girl, 
'to whom do you drink?' 

' Down in the sea I took hold of a ship and shook it and 
pulled it till it would soon have been lost,' said she. And 
as she spoke she looked quite different from what she had 
done with the chain in her hands, seeking to work mischief. 
'But a youth came, and freed the ship and bound me to 
a rock. To his health I drink,' and they all three lifted 
their cups and drank silently. 

As they put their cups down, the youth appeared before 

'Here am I, the youth whose health you have drunk; 
and now give me the bracelet that matches a jewelled 
band which of a surety fell from the arm of one of you. 
A Jew tried to take it from me, but I would not let him 
have it, and he dragged me before the kadi, who kept 
my bracelet till I could show him its fellow. And I 
have been wandering hither and thither in search of it, 
and that is how I have found myself in such strange 

'Come with us, then,' said the maidens, and they led 
him down a passage into a hall, out of which opened many 
chambers, each one of greater splendour than the last. 
From a shelf heaped up with gold and jewels the eldest 
sister took a bracelet, which in every way was exactly like 
the one which was in the judge's keeping, and fastened it 
to the youth's arm. 

'Go at once and show this to the kadi,' said she, 'and he 
will give you the fellow to it.' 

'I shall never forget you,' answered the youth, 'but 
it may be long before we meet again, for I shall never 
rest till I have found fear.' Then he went his way, and 


won the bracelet from the kadi. After this, he again set 
forth in his quest of fear. 

On and on walked the youth, but fear never crossed his 
path, and one day he entered a large town, where all the 
streets and squares were so full of people, he could hardly 
pass between them. 

'Why are all these crowds gathered together?' he asked 
of a man who stood next him. 

'The ruler of this country is dead,' was the reply, 
'and as he had no children, it is needful to choose a 
successor. Therefore each morning one of the sacred 
pigeons is let loose from the tower yonder, and on whom- 
soever the bird shall perch, that man is our king. In a 
few minutes the pigeon will fly. Wait and see what happens.' 

Every eye was fixed on the tall tower which stood in 
the centre of the chief square, and the moment that the sun 
was seen to stand straight over it, a door was opened and 
a beautiful pigeon, gleaming with pink and grey, blue and 
green, came rushing through the air. Onward it flew, on- 
ward, onward, till at length it rested on the head of the boy. 
Then a great shout arose: 

'The king! the king!' but as he listened to the cries, 
a vision, swifter than lightning, flashed across his brain. 
He saw himself seated on a throne, spending his life try- 
ing, and never succeeding, to make poor people rich; miser- 
able people happy; bad people good; never doing any- 
thing he wished to do, not able even to marry the girl that 
he loved. 

'No! no!' he shrieked, hiding his face in his hands; but 
the crowds who heard him thought he was overcome by the 
grandeur that awaited him, and paid no heed. 

' Well, to make quite sure, let fly more pigeons/ said they, 
but each pigeon followed where the first had led, and the 
cries arose louder than ever: 

'The king! the king!' And as the young man heard, 
a cold shiver, that he knew not the meaning of, ran through 


'This is fear whom you have so long sought,' whispered 
a voice, which seemed to reach his ears alone. And the youth 
bowed his head as the vision once more flashed before his 
eyes, and he accepted his doom, and made ready to pass 
his life with fear beside him. 

(Adapted from TUrkiscke VclksaOrckm. Von Dr. Ignas KQnoe. 

£. J. Brill, Leiden.) 


Once upon a time there reigned a king who had an only 
daughter. The girl had been spoiled by everybody from 
her birth, and, besides being beautiful, was clever and 
wilful, and when she grew old enough to be married 
she refused to have anything to say to the prince whom 
her father favoured, but declared she would choose a 
husband for herself. By long experience the king knew 
that when once she had made up her mind, there was no 
use expecting her to change it, so he inquired meekly what 
she wished him to do. 

'Summon all the young men in the kingdom to appear 
before me a month from to-day/ answered the princess; 
'and the one to whom I shall give this golden apple shall 
be my husband.' 

'But, my dear — ' began the king, in tones of dismay. 

'The one to whom I shall give this golden apple shall be 
my husband,' repeated the princess, in a louder voice than 
before. And the king understood the signal, and with a 
sigh proceeded to do her bidding. 

The young men arrived — tall and short, dark and fair, 
rich and poor. They stood in rows in the great court- 
yard in front of the palace, and the princess, clad in robes 
of green, with a golden veil flowing behind her, passed 
before them all, holding the apple. Once or twice she 
stopped and hesitated, but in the end she always passed 
on, till she came to a youth near the end of the last row. 
There was nothing specially remarkable about him, the 



bystanders thought ; nothing that was likely to take a 
girl's fancy. A hundred others were handsomer, and all 
wore finer clothes; but he met the princess's eyes frankly 
and with a smile, and she smiled too, and held out the 

* There is some mistake,' cried the king, who had anx- 
iously watched her progress, and hoped that none of the 
candidates would please her. 'It is impossible that she 
can wish to marry the son of a poor widow, who has not a 
farthing in the world! Tell her that I will not hear of it, 
and that she must go through the rows again and .fix upon 
someone else; and the princess went through the rows a 
second and a third time, and on each occasion she gave 
the apple to the widow's son. 'Well, marry him if you 
will,' exclaimed the angry king; 'but at least you snail 
not stay here.' And the princess answered nothing, but 
threw up her head, and taking the widow's son by the hand, 
they left the castle. 

That evening they were married, and after the ceremony 
went back to the house of the bridegroom's mother, which, 
in the eyes of the princess, did not look much bigger than a 

The old woman was not at all pleased when her son 
entered bringing his bride with him. 

'As if we were not poor enough before,' grumbled she. 
'I dare say this is some fine lady who can. do nothing to 
earn her living.' But the princess stroked her arm, and 
said softly: 

'Do not be vexed, dear mother; I am a famous spinner, 
and can sit at my wheel all day without breaking a 

And she kept her word; but in spite of the efforts of 
all three, they became poorer and poorer; and at the end 
of six months it was agreed that the husband should go 
to the neighbouring town to get work. Here he met a 
merchant who was about to start on a long journey with 
a train of camels laden with goods of all sorts, and needed 



a man to help him. The widow's son begged that he would 
take him as a servant, and to this the merchant assented, 
giving him his whole year's salary beforehand. The young 
man returned home with the news, and next day bade 
farewell to his mother and his wife, who were very sad at 
parting from him. 

'Do not forget me while you are absent,' whispered the 
princess as she flung her arms round his neck; 'and as you 
pass by the well which lies near the city gate, stop and greet 
the old man you will find sitting there. Kiss his hand, 
and then ask him what counsel he can give you for your 

Then the youth set out, and when he reached the well 
where the old man was sitting he asked the questions as 
his wife had bidden him. 

'My son,' replied the old man, 'you have done well to 
come to me, and in return remember three things: "She 
whom the heart loves, is ever the most beautiful." "Pa- 
tience is the first step on the road to happiness." "He 
wins who waits."' 

The young man thanked him and went on his way. Next 
morning early the caravan set out, and before sunset it 
had arrived at the first halting place, round some wells, 
where another company of merchants had already en- 
camped. But no rain had fallen for a long while in that 
rocky country, and both men and beasts were parched 
with thirst. To be sure, there was another well about 
half a mile away, where there was always water; but to 
get it you had to be lowered deep down, and, besides, no 
one who had ever descended that well had been known to 
come back. 

However, till they could store some water in their 
bags of goat-skin, the caravans dared not go further 
into the desert, and on the night of the arrival of the 
widow's son and his master, the merchants had decided 
to offer a large reward to anyone who was brave enough 
to go down into the enchanted well and bring some up. 


Thus it happened that at sunrise the young man was 
aroused from his sleep by a herald making his round 
of the camp, proclaiming that every merchant present 
would give a thousand piastres to the man who would 
risk his life to bring water for themselves and their 

The youth hesitated for a little while when he heard 
the proclamation. The story of the well had spread far 
and wide, and long ago had reached his ears. The 
danger was great, he knew; but then, if he came back 
alive, he would be the possessor of eighty thousand 
piastres. He turned to the herald who was passing the 

' / will go,' said he. 

'What madness!' cried his master, who happened to 
be standing near. 'You are too young to throw away 
your life like that. Run after the herald and tell him you 
take back your offer.' But the young man shook his head, 
and the merchant saw that it was useless to try and persuade 

'Well, it is your own affair,' he observed at last. 'If you 
must go, you must. Only, if you ever return, I will give 
you a camel's load of goods and my best mule besides.' 
And touching his turban in token of farewell, he entered 
the tent. 

Hardly had he done so than a crowd of men were seen 
pouring out of the camp. 

'How can we thank you!' they exclaimed, pressing round 
the youth. 'Our camels as well as ourselves are almost 
dead of thirst. See! here is the rope we have brought to 
let you down.' 

'Come, then,' answered the youth. And they all set 

On reaching the well, the rope was knotted securely 
under his arms, a big goat-skin bottle was given him, 
and he was gently lowered to the bottom of the pit. 
Here a clear stream was bubbling over the rocks, and, 


stooping down, he was about to drink, when a huge Arab 
appeared before him, saying in a loud voice: 

'Come with me!' 

The young man rose, never doubting that his last hour 
had come; but as he could do nothing, he followed the Arab 
into a brilliantly lighted hall, on the further side of the 
little river. There his guide sat down, and drawing towards 
him two boys, one black and the other white, he said to the 

'I have a question to ask you. If you answer it 
right, your life shall be spared. If not, your head will 
be forfeit, as the head of many another has been before 
you. Tell me: which of my two children do I think the 

The question did not seem a hard one, for while the 
white boy was as beautiful a child as ever was seen, his 
brother was ugly even for a negro. But, just as the 
youth was going to speak, the old man's counsel flashed 
into the youth's mind, and he replied hastily: 'The one 
whom we love best is always the handsomest.' 

'You have saved me!' cried the Arab, rising quickly 
from his seat, and pressing the young man in his arms. 
'Ah! if you could only guess what I have suffered from 
the stupidity of all the people to whom I have put that 
question, and I was condemned by a wicked genius to 
remain here until it was answered! But what brought 
you to this place, and how can I reward you for what you 
have done for me?' 

'By helping me to draw enough water for my caravan 
of eighty merchants and their camels, who are dying for 
want of it,' replied the youth. 

'That is easily done,' said the Arab. 'Take these 
three apples, and when you have filled your skin, and are 
ready to be drawn up, lay one of them on the ground. 
Half-way to the earth, let fall another, and at the top, 
drop the third. If you follow my directions no harm 
will happen to you. And take, besides, these three 


pomegranates, green, red and white. One day you will 
find a use for them!' 

The young man did as he was told, and stepped out 
on the rocky waste, where the merchants were anxiously 
awaiting him. Oh, how thirsty they all were! But even 
after the camels had drunk, the skin seemed as full as 

Full of gratitude for their deliverance, the merchants 
pressed the money into his hands, while his own master 
bade him choose what goods he liked, and a mule to carry 

So the widow's son was rich at last, and when the mer- 
chant had sold his merchandise, and returned home to 
his native citv, his servant hired a man bv whom he sent 
the money and the mule back to his wife. 

' I will send the pomegranates also,' thought he, * for 
if I leave them in my turban they may some day fall out,' 
and he drew them out of his turban. But the fruit had 
vanished, and in their places were three precious stones, 
green, white and red. 

For a long time he remained with the merchant, who 
gradually trusted him with all his business, and gave him 
a larce share of the monev he made. When his master 
died, the young man wished to return home, but the widow 
begged him to stay and help her; and one day he awoke 
with a start, to remember that twenty years had passed 
since he had gone away. 

*I want to see my wife.* he said next morning to his 
mistress. *If at any lime I can be of use to you, send a 
messenger to me: meanwhile, I have told Hassan what to 
do.' And mounting a camel he set out. 

Xow. soon after he had taken service with the mer- 
chant a little boy had been born to him, and both the 
princess and the old woman toiled hard all day to get 
the baby food and clothing. When the money and the 
pomegranates arrived there was no need for them to work 


any more, and the princess saw at once that they were 
not fruit at all, but precious stones of great value. The 
old woman, however, not being accustomed, like her 
daughter-in-law, to the sight of jewels, took them only 
for common fruit,, and wished to give them to the child 
to eat. She was very angry when the princess hastily 
took them from her and hid them in her dress, while she 
went to the market and bought the three finest pomegran- 
ates she' could find, which she handed the old woman for 
the little boy. 

Then she bought beautiful new clothes for all of them, 
and when they were dressed they looked as fine as could 
be. Next, she took out one of the precious stones which 
her husband had sent her, and placed it in a small silver 
box. This she wrapped up in a handkerchief embroidered 
in gold, and filled the old woman's pockets with gold and 
silver pieces. 

'Go, dear mother,' she said, 'to the palace, and 
present the jewel to the king, and if he asks you what 
he can give you in return, tell him that you want a 
paper, with his seal attached, proclaiming that no one is 
to meddle with anything you may choose to do. Before 
you leave the palace distribute the money amongst the 

The old woman took the box and started for the 
palace. No one there bad ever seen a ruby of such 
beauty, and the most famous jeweller in the town was 
summoned to declare its value. But all he could say 

'If a boy threw a stone into the air with all his might, 
and you could pile up gold as high as the flight of the stone, 
it would not be sufficient to pay for this ruby.' 

At these words the king's face fell. Having once seen 
the ruby he could not bear to part with it, yet all the money 
in his treasury would not be enough to buy it. So for a 
little while he remained silent, wondering what offer he 
could make the old woman, and at last he said: 


'If I cannot give you its worth in money, is there any- 
thing you will take in exchange?' 

'A paper signed by your hand, and sealed with your 
seal, proclaiming that I may do what I will, without let 
or hindrance/ answered she promptly. And the king, 
delighted to have obtained what he coveted at so small 
a cost, gave her the paper without delay. Then the old 
woman tix>k her leave and returned home. 

The fame of this wonderful ruby soon spread far and 
wide, and envoys arrived at the little house to know if 
there were more stones to sell. Each king was so 
anxious to gain possession of the treasure that he bade 
his messenger outbid all the rest, and so the princess 
sold the two remaining stones for a sum of money so 
large that if the gold pieces had been spread out they 
would have reached from here to the moon. The first 
thing she did was to build a palace by the side of the 
cottage, and it was raised on pillars of gold, in which 
were set great diamonds, which blazed night and day. 
Of course the news of . this palace was the first thing 
that reached the king her father, on his return from the 
wars, and he hurried to see it. In the doorway stood a 
young man of twenty, who was his grandson, though 
neither of them knew it, and so pleased was the king 
with the appearance of the youth, that he carried him 
back to his own palace, and made him commander of the 
whole arm v. 


Not long after this, the widow's son returned to his 
native land. There, sure enough, was the tiny cottage 
where he had lived with his mother, but the gorgeous 
building beside it was quite new to him. What had 
become of his wife and his mother, and who could be 
dwelling in tluit other wonderful place. These were 
the first thoughts that flashed through his mind; but not 
wishing to betray himself by asking questions of passing 
strangers, he climbed up into a tree that stood opposite 
the palace and watched. 


By-and-by a lady came out, and began to gather some 
of the roses and jessamine that hung about the porch. 
The twenty years that had passed since he had last beheld 
her vanished in an instant, and he knew her to be his own 
wife, looking almost as young and beautiful as on the 
day of their parting. He was about to jump down from 
the tree and hasten to her side, when she was joined by 
a young man who placed his arm affectionately round 
her neck. At this sight the angry husband drew his 
bow, but before he could let fly the arrow, the counsel 
of the wise man came back to him: ' Patience is the first 
step on the road to happiness/ And he laid it down 

At this moment the princess turned, and drawing her 
companion's head down to hers, kissed him on each cheek. 
A second time blind rage filled the heart of the watcher, 
and he snatched up his bow from the branch where it 
hung, when words, heard long since, seemed to sound in 
his ears: 

'He wins who waits.' And the bow dropped to his 
side. Then, through the silent air came the sound of the 
youth's voice: 

' Mother, can you tell me nothing about my father ? Does 
he still live, and will he never return to us ?' 

'Alas! my son, how can I answer you?' replied the lady. 
'Twenty years have passed since he left us to make his 
fortune, and, in that time, only once have I heard aught 
of him. But what has brought him to your mind just 

'Because last night I dreamed that he was here,' said 
the youth, 'and then I remembered what I have so long 
forgotten, that I had a father, though even his very history 
was strange to me. And now, tell me, I pray you, all you 
can concerning him. 

And standing under the jessamine, the son learnt his 
father's history, and the man in the tree listened also. 

'Oh,' exclaimed the youth, when it was ended, while 


he twisted his hands in pain, 'I am general-in-chief, you 
are the king's daughter, and we have the most splendid 
palace in the whole world, yet my father lives we know 
not where, and for all we can guess, may be poor and 
miserable. To-morrow I will ask the king to give me 
soldiers, and I will seek him over the whole earth till I 
find him.' 

Then the man came down from the tree, and clasped 
his wife and son in his arms. All that night they talked, 
and when the sun rose it still found them talking. But 
as soon as it was proper, he went up to the palace to pay 
his homage to the king, and to inform him of all that had 
happened and who they all really were. The king was 
overjoyed to think that his daughter, whom he had long 
since forgiven and sorely missed, was living at his gates, 
and was, besides, the mother of the youth who was so dear 
to him. 'It was written befo^ehand, , cried the monarch. 
'You are my son-in-law before the world, and shall be 
king after me.' 

And the man bowed his head. 

He had waited; and he had won. 

(From Conies Armeniens. Par Fr6d&ic Mader.) 


Once upon a time there lived an old woman who had 
a small cottage on the edge of the forest. Behind the 
cottage was a garden in which all sorts of vegetables grew, 
and, beyond that, a field with two or three cows in it, so 
her neighbours considered her quite rich, and envied her 

As long as she was strong enough to work all day in 
her garden the old woman never felt lonely, but after a 
while she had a bad illness, which left her much weaker 
than before, and she began to think that now and then 
it would be nice to have some one to speak to. Just at 
this moment she heard of the death of a shepherd and 
his wife, who dwelt on the other side of the plain, leaving 
a little boy quite alone in the world. 

'That will just suit me/ she said; and sent a man over 
to bring the child, whom she intended to adopt for 
her own. 

Now the boy, who was about twelve years old, ought 
to have considered himself very lucky, for his new mother 
was as kind to him as the old one. But, unfortunately, 
he made friends with some bad rude companions whose 
tricks caused them to be a terror to everyone, and the 
poor old woman never ceased regretting her lost solitude. 

Things went on in this way for some years, till the boy 
became a man. 

'Perhaps, if he were to be married he might sober 
down,' she thought to herself. And she inquired among 
the neighbours what girls there were of an age to choose 


from. At length one was found, good and industrious, as 
well as pretty; and as the young man raised no objections 
the wedding took place at once, and the bride and bride- 
groom went to live in the cottage with the old woman. 
But no change was to be seen in the husband's conduct. 
All day long he was out amusing himself in the company 
of his former friends, and if his wife dared to say any- 
thing to him on his return home he beat her with his stick. 
And next year, when a baby was born to them, he beat 
it also. 

At length the old woman's patience was worn out. She 
saw that it was quite useless to expect the lazy, idle creature 
to mend his ways, and one day she said to him: 

i Do you mean to go on like this for ever? Remember, 
you are no longer a boy, and it is time that you left off 
behaving like one. Come, shake off your bad habits, and 
work for your wife and child, and above all, stop beating 
them. If not I will transform you into an ass, and heavy 
loads shall be piled on your back, and men shall ride you. 
Briars shall be your food, a goad shall prick you, and in 
your turn you shall know how it feels to be beaten.' 

But if she expected her words to do any good she soon 
found out her mistake, for the young man only grew angry 
and cried rudely: 

'Bah! hold your tongue or I will whip you also.' 

' Will you ? ' she answered grimly : and, swift as lightning 
she picked up a steel cane that stood in the corner and laid 
it across his shoulders. In an instant his ears had grown 
long and his face longer, his arms had become legs, and 
his body was covered with close grey hair. Truly, he was 
an ass; and a very ugly one, too! 

'Leave the house!' commanded the old woman. And, 
shambling awkwardly, he went. 

As he was standing in the path outside, not knowing 
what to do, a man passed by. 

'Ho! my fine fellow, you are exactly what I was looking 
for! You don't seem to have a master, so come with me. 


I will find something for you to do.' And taking him by 
the ear he led him from the cottage. 

For seven years the ass led a hard life, just as the old 
woman had foretold. But instead of remembering that 
he had brought all his suffering on himself, and being 
sorry for his evil ways, he grew harder, and more bitter. 
At the end of the seven years his ass skin wore out, 
and he became a man again, and one day returned to the 

His wife opened the door in answer to his knock; then, 
letting fall the latch, she ran inside, crying: 

'Grandmother! grandmother! your son has come 

'I thought he would,' replied the old woman, going on 
with her spinning. 'Well, we could have done very well 
without him. But as he is here I suppose he must come 

And come in he did. But as the old woman expected, 
he behaved still worse than before. For some weeks she 
allowed him to do what he liked; then at last she .said: 

'So experience has taught you nothing! After all, there 
are very few people who have sense to learn by it. But 
take care lest I change you into a wolf, to be a prey for dogs 
and men!' 

'You talk too much. I shall break your head for you!' 
was all the answer she got; 

Had the young man looked at her face he might have 
taken warning, but he was busy making a pipe, and took 
no notice. The next moment the steel cane had touched 
his shoulders, and a big grey wolf bounded through the 

Oh! what a yapping among the dogs, and what a shout- 
ing among the neighbours as they gave chase. 

For seven years he led the life of a hunted animal, 
often cold and nearly always hungry, and never daring to 
allow himself a sound sleep. At the end of that time his 
wolf skin wore out also, and again he appeared at the 


cottage door. But the second seven years had taught 
him no more than the first — his conduct was worse than 
before; and one day he beat his wife and son so brutally 
that they screamed to the old woman to come to their 

She did, and brought the steel cane with her. In a second 
the ruffian had vanished, and a big black crow was flying 
about the room, crying 'Gour! Gout!' 

The window was open, and he darted through it; and 
seeking the companions who had ruined him, he managed 
to make them understand what had happened. 

'We will avenge you,' said they; and taking up a rope, 
set out to strangle the old woman. 

But she was ready for them. One stroke of her cane 
and they were all changed into a troop of black crows, and 
this time their feathers are lasting still. 

(From Conies Armenian. Par Fr6d£rk Mackr.) 



Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who ruled 
over a country so small that you could easily walk 
round it in one day. They were both very good, simple 
people; not very wise, perhaps, but anxious to be kind 
to everybody; and this was often a mistake, for the king 
allowed all his subjects to talk at once, and offer advice 
upon the government of the kingdom as well as upon private 
matters. And the end of it all was, that it was very difficult 
to get any laws made, and, still more, to get anyone to obey 

Now, no traveller ever passed through the kingdom 
without inquiring how it came to be so small. And this 
was the reason. As soon as Petaldo (for that was the 
king's name) had been t>orn, his father and mother betrothed 
him to the niece of their friend the fairy Gangana — if 
she should ever have one. But as the years passed on, 
and Gangana was still without a niece, the young prince 
forgot all about his destined bride, and when he was twenty- 
five he secretly married the beautiful daughter of a 
rich farmer, with whom he had fallen violently in 

When the fairy heard the news she fell into a violent 
rage, and hurried off to tell the king. The old man 
thought in his heart that his son had waited quite long 
enough; but he did not dare to say so, lest some dreadful 
spell might be thrown over them all, and they should be 


changed into birds or snakes, or, worst of all, into stones. 
So, much against his will, he was obliged to disinherit 
the young man, and to forbid him to come to court. 
Indeed, he would have been a beggar had it not been 
for the property his wife had had given her by the 
farmer, which the youth obtained permission to erect into 
a kingdom. 

Most princes would have been very angry at this treat- 
ment, especially as the old king soon died, and the queen 
was delighted to reign in his place. But Petaldo was a 
contented young man, and was quite satisfied with arrang- 
ing his tiny court on the model of his father's, and having 
a lord chamberlain, and a high steward and several gentle- 
men in attendance; while the young queen appointed her 
own ladies-in-waiting and maids of honour. He likewise 
set up a mint to coin money, and chose a seneschal as head 
of the five policemen who kept order in the capital and 
punished the boys who were caught in the act of throwing 
stones at the palace windows. 

The first to fill this important office was the young king's 
father-in-law, an excellent man of the name of Caboche. 
He was much beloved by everyone, and so sensible that 
he was not at all vain at rising at once to the dignity of 
seneschal, when he had only been a common farmer, but 
went about his fields every day as usual. This conduct 
so struck his king that very soon he never did anything 
without consulting him. 

Each morning Caboche and his son-in-law had break- 
fast together, and when they had finished, the king took 
out of his iron chest great bundles of state papers, which 
he desired to talk over with his seneschal. Sometimes they 
would spend two hours at least in deciding these important 
matters, but more often after a few minutes Caboche would 

'Excuse me, sire, but your majesty does not understand 
this affair in the least. Leave it to me, and I will settle 


' But what am I to do, then ? ' asked the king. And his 
minister answered: 

' Oh, you can rule your wife, and see after your fruit 
garden. You will find that those two things will take 
up all your time.' 

'Well, perhaps you are right,' the king replied; secretly 
glad to be rid of the cares of government. But though 
Caboche did all the work, Petaldo never failed to appear 
on grand occasions, in his royal mantle of red linen, hold- 
ing a sceptre of gilded wood. Meanwhile he passed his 
mornings in studying books, from which he learned the 
proper seasons to plant his fruit trees, and when they should 
be pruned; and his afternoons in his garden, where he put 
his knowledge into practice. In the evening he played 
cards with his father-in-law, and supped in public with 
the queen, and by ten o'clock everybody in the palace was 
fast asleep. 

The queen, on her side, was quite as happy as her hus- 
band. She loved to be in her dairy, and nobody in the 
kingdom could make such delicious cheeses. But how- 
ever busy she might be, she never forgot to bake a little 
barley cake, and make a tiny cream cheese, and to put 
them under a particular rose-tree in the garden. If you 
had asked her whom they were for, and where they went 
to, she could not have told you, but would have said that 
on the night of her marriage a fairy had appeared to her 
in a dream, and had bidden her to perform this cere- 

After the king and the queen had six children, a little 
boy was born, with a small red cap on his head, so that 
he was quite different from his brothers and sisters, and 
his parents loved Cadichon better than any of them. 

The years went on, and the children were growing big, 
when, one day, after Gillette the queen had finished baking 
her cake, and had turned it out on a plate, a lovely blue 
mouse crept up the leg of the table and ran to the plate. 
Instead of chasing it away, as most women would have 


done, the queen pretended not to notice what the mouse 
was doing, and was much surprised to see the little 
creature pick up the cake and carry it off to the 
chimney. She sprang forwards to stop it, when, suddenly, 
both the mouse and cake vanished, and in their place 
stood an old woman only a foot high, whose clothes 
hung in rags about her. Taking up a sharp pointed iron 
stick, she drew on the earthen floor some strange signs, 
uttering seven cries as she did so, and murmuring 
something in a low voice, among which the queen was 
sure she caught the words, 'faith/ 'wisdom,' 'happiness.' 
Then, seizing the kitchen broom, she whirled it three times 
round her head, and vanished. Immediately there arose 
a great noise in the next room, and on opening the door, 
the queen beheld three large cockchafers, each one with 
a princess between its feet, while the princes were seated 
on the backs of three swallows. In the middle was a car 
formed of a single pink shell, and drawn by two robin red- 
breasts, and in this car Cadichon was sitting by the side 
of the blue mouse, who was dressed in a splendid mantle 
of black velvet fastened under her chin. Before the queen 
had recovered from her surprise, cockchafers, redbreasts, 
mouse and children had all flown, singing, to the window, 
and disappeared from view. 

The loud shrieks of the queen brought her husband 
and father running into the room, and when at last they 
made out from her broken sentences what had really hap- 
pened, they hastily snatched up some stout sticks that 
were lying about and set off to the rescue — one going in 
one direction and the other in another. 

For at least an hour the queen sat sobbing where 
they had left her, when at last she was roused by a piece 
of folded paper falling at her feet. She stooped and 
picked it up eagerly, hoping that it might contain some 
news of her lost children. It was very short, but when 
she had read the few words, Gillette was comforted, for 
it bade her take heart, as they were well and happy 


under the protection of a fairy. 'On your own faith 
and prudence depend your happiness,' ended the writer. 
'It is I who have all these years eaten the food you 
placed under the rose-tree, and some day I shall reward 
you for it. "Everything comes to him who knows 
how to wait," is the advice given by, — The Fairy of the 

Then the queen rose up, and bathed her face, and combed 
her shining hair; and as she turned away from her mirror 
she beheld a linnet sitting on her bed. No one would 
have known that it was anything but a common linnet, 
and yesterday the queen would have thought so too. But 
this morning so many wonderful things had happened 
that she did not doubt for a moment that the writer of the 
letter was before her. 

'Pretty linnet,' said she, 'I will try to do all you wish. 
Only give me, I pray you, now and then, news of my little 

And the linnet flapped her wings and sang, and flew 
away. So the queen knew that she had guessed rightly, 
and thanked her in her heart. 

By-and-by the king and his seneschal returned, hungry 
and tired with their fruitless search. They were amazed 
and rather angry to find the queen, whom they had left 
weeping, quite cheerful. Could she really care for her 
children so little and have forgotten them so soon ? What 
could have caused this sudden change? But to all their 
questions Gillette would only answer: 'Everything comes 
to him who knows how to wait.' 

'That is true,' replied her father; 'and, after all, your 
majesty must remember that the revenues of your king- 
dom would hardly bear the cost of seven princes and 
princesses brought up according to their rank. Be 
grateful, then, to those who have relieved you of the 

'You are right! You are always right!' cried the 
king, whose face once more beamed with smiles. And 


life at the palace went on as before, till Petaldo received a 
piece of news which disturbed him gready. 

The queen, his mother, who had for some time been 
a widow, suddenly made up her mind to many again, 
and her choice had fallen on the young king of the 
Green Isles, who was younger than her own son, and, 
besides, handsome and fond of pleasure, which Petaldo 
was not. Now the grandmother, foolish though she 
was in many respects, had the sense to see that a 
woman as old and as plain as she was, could hardly 
expect a young man to fall in love with her, and that, 
if this was to happen, it would be needful to find some 
spell which would bring back her youth and beauty. Of 
course, the fairy Gangana could have wrought the change 
with one wave of her wand; but unluckily the two 
were no longer friends, because the fairy had tried 
hard to persuade the queen to declare her niece heiress 
to the crown, which the queen refused to do. Naturally, 
therefore, it was no use asking the help of Gangana 
to enable the queen to take a second husband, who 
would be certain to succeed her; and messengers were 
sent all over the neighbouring kingdoms, seeking to find a 
witch or a fairy who would work the wished-for miracle. 
None, however, could be found with sufficient skill, and 
at length the queen saw that if ever the king of the Green 
Isles was to be her husband she must throw herself on the 
mercy of the fairy Gangana. 

The fairy's wrath was great when she heard the queen's 
story, but she knew very well that, as the king of the Green 
Isles had spent all his money, he would probably be ready 
to marry even an old woman, like her friend, in order to 
get more. So, in order to gain time, she hid her feelings, 
and told the queen that in three days the spell would be 

Her words made the queen so happy that twenty 
years seemed to fall from her at once, and she counted, 


not only the hours, but the minutes to the appointed 
time. It came at last, and the fairy stood before her in 
a long robe of pink and silver, held up by a tiny brown 
dwarf, who carried a small box under his arm. The 
queen received her with all the marks of respect that 
she could think of, and at the request ofGangana, 
ordered the doors and windows of the great hall to be 
closed, and her attendants to retire, so that she and her 
guest might be quite alone. Then, opening the box, 
which was presented to her on one knee by the dwarf, 
the fairy took from it a small vellum book with silver 
clasps, a wand that lengthened out as you touched it, 
and a crystal bottle filled with very clear green water. 
She next bade the queen sit on a seat in the middle of 
the room, and the dwarf to stand opposite her, after 
which she stooped down and drew three circles round 
them with a golden rod, touched each of them thrice 
with her wand, and sprinkled the liquid over both. 
Gradually the queen's big features began to grow smaller 
and her face fresher, while at the same time the dwarf 
became about twice as tall as he had been before. This 
sight, added to the blue flames which sprang up from the 
three circles, so frightened the queen that she fainted in 
her chair, and when she recovered, both the page and the 
fairy had vanished. 

At first she felt vaguely puzzled, not remembering 
clearly what had happened; then it all came back to 
her, and jumping up she ran to the nearest mirror. 
Oh! how happy she was! Her long nose and her 
projecting teeth had become things of beauty, her hair 
was thick and curly, and bright gold. The fairy had indeed 
fulfilled her promise! But, in her hurry and pleasure, 
the queen never noticed that she had not been changed 
into a beautiful young lady, but into a very tall little 
girl of eight or nine years old! Instead of her magnifi- 
cent velvet dress, edged with fur and embroidered in 
gold, she wore a straight muslin frock, with a little lace 


apron, while her hair, which was always combed and 
twisted and fastened with diamond pins, hung in curls 
down her back. But if she had only known, something 
besides this had befallen her, for except as regards her 
love for the king of the Green Isles, her mind as well 
as her face had become that of a child, and this her 
courtiers were aware of, if she was not. Of course they 
could not imagine what had occurred, and did not know 
how to behave themselves, till the chief minister set 
them the example by ordering his wife and daughters 
to copy the queen's clothes and way of speaking. Then, 
in a short time, the whole court, including the men, 
talked and dressed like children, and played with dolls, 
or little tin soldiers, while at the state dinners nothing 
was seen but iced fruits, or sweet cakes made in the 
shape of birds and horses. But whatever she might he 
doing, the queen hardly ceased talking about the king 
of the Green Isles, whom she always spoke of as ' my little 
husband,' and as weeks passed on, and he did not come, 
she began to get very cross and impatient, so that her 
courtiers kept away from her as much as they could. By 
this time, too, they were growing tired of pretending to 
be children, and whispered their intention of leaving the 
palace and taking service under a neighbouring sover- 
eign, when, one day, a loud blast of trumpets announced 
the arrival of the long-expected guest. In an instant all 
was smiles again, and in spite of the strictest rules of court 
etiquette, the queen insisted on receiving the young king 
at the bottom of the stairs. Unfortunately, in her haste, 
she fell over her dress, and rolled down several steps, 
screaming like a child, from fright. She was not really 
much hurt, though she had scratched her nose and 
bruised her forehead, but she was obliged to be carried 
to her room and have her face bathed in cold water. 
Still, in spite of this, she gave strict orders that the 
king should be brought to her presence the moment he 
entered the palace. 


A shrill blast outside her door sent a twinge of pain 
through the queen's head, which by this time was aching 
badly; but in her joy at welcoming her future husband 
she paid no heed to it. Between two lines of courtiers, 
bowing low, the young king advanced quickly; but at 
the sight of the queen and her bandages, broke out into 
such violent fits of laughter that he was forced to leave 
the room, and even the palace. 

When the queen had recovered from the vexation 
caused by the king's rude behaviour, she bade her 
attendants to hasten after him and fetch him back, but 
no promises or entreaties would persuade him to return. 
This of course made the queen's temper even worse than 
it was before, and a plot was set on foot to deprive her 
of the crown, which would certainly have succeeded 
had not the fairy Gangana, who had only wished to 
prevent her marriage, restored her to her proper shape. 
But, far from thanking her friend for this service, the 
sight of her old face in the mirror filled her with despair; 
and from that day she hated Gangana with a deadly 

And where were Petaldo's children all this while? 
Why, in the island of Bambini, where they had play- 
fellows to their hearts' content, and plenty of fairies to 
take care of them all. But out of all the seven princes 
and princesses whom the queen had seen carried off 
through the window, there was only Cadichon who was 
good and obedient; the other six were so rude and 
quarrelsome that they could get no one to play with 
them, and at last, as a punishment, the fairy changed 
them all into marionettes, till they should learn to behave 

Now, in an unlucky moment, the Fairy of the Fields 
determined to visit her friend the queen of the fairies, 
who lived in a distant island, in order to consult her as to 
what was to become of Cadichon. 

As she was entering the Hall of Audience, Gangana 


was leaving it, and sharp words were exchanged between 
them. After her enemy had flown off in a rage, the Fairy 
of the Fields poured out the whole story of Gangana's 
wickedness to the queen, and implored her counsel. 

'Be comforted,' answered the fairy queen. 'For a 
while she must work her will, and at this moment she is 
carrying off Cadichon to the island where she still holds 
her niece captive. But should she make an evil use of 
the power she has, her punishment will be swift and 
great. And now I will give you this precious phial. 
Guard it carefully, for the liquid it contains will cause 
you to become invisible, and safe from the piercing eyes 
of all fairies. Against the eyes of mortals it has no 

With a heart somewhat lighter, the Fairy of the Fields 
returned to her own island, and, the better to protect the 
six new marionettes from the wicked fairy, she sprinkled 
them with a few drops of the liquid, only avoiding just 
the tips of their noses, so that she might be able to 
know them again. Then she set off for the kingdom of 
Petaldo, which she found in a state of revolt, because 
for the first time since he had ascended the throne he 
had dared to impose a tax. Indeed, matters might have 
ended in a war, or in cutting off the king's head, had not 
the fairy discovered a means of contenting everybody, 
and of whispering anew to the queen that all was well 
with her children, for she dared not tell her of the loss of 

And what had become of Cadichon ? Well, the Fairy 
of the Fields had found out — bv means of her books, 
which had told her — that the poor little boy had 
been placed by Gangana in an enchanted island, round 
which flowed a rapid river, sweeping rocks and trees in 
its current. Besides the river, the island was guarded 
by twenty-four enormous dragons, breathing flames, and 
forming a rampart of fire which it seemed as if none could 


The Fairy of the Fields knew all this, but she had a 
brave heart, and determined that by some means or other 
she would overcome all obstacles, and rescue Cadichon 
from the power of Gangana. So, taking with her the 
water of invisibility, she sprinkled it over her, and 
mounting her favourite winged lizard, set out for the 
island. When it appeared in sight she wrapped herself 
in her fireproof mantle; then, bidding the lizard return 
home, she slipped past the dragons and entered the 

Scarcely had she done so than she beheld Gangana 
approaching her, talking loudly and angrily to a genius 
who flew by her side. From what she said, the fairy 
learned that Petaldo 's mother, the old queen, had died 
of rage on hearing of the marriage of the king of the Green 
Isles to a young and lovely bride, and instead of leaving 
her kingdom to Gangana, had bequeathed it to one of the 
children of her son Petaldo. 

'But all the trouble I have had with that foolish old 
woman shall not go for nothing/ cried Gangana. 'Go 
at once to my stables, and fetch out the strongest and swiftest 
griffins you can find in the stalls, and harness them to the 
yellow coach. Drive this, with all the speed you may, to 
the Isle of Bambini, and carry off the six children of Petaldo 
that are still there. I will see to Petaldo and Gillette 
myself. When I have got them all safe here I will change 
the parents into rabbits and the children into dogs. As 
for Cadichon, I have not quite made up my mind what 
I shall do with him/ 

The Fairy of the Fields did not wait to hear more. No 
time was to be lost in seeking the help of the fairy 
queen if Petaldo and his family were to be saved from 
this dreadful doom. So, without waiting to summon her 
lizard, she flew across the island and past the dragons 
till her feet once more touched the ground again. But 
at that instant a black cloud rolled over her, loud thunder 
rent the air, and the earth rocked beneath her. Then 


wild lightnings lit up the sky, and by their flashes 
she saw the four-and-twenty dragons fighting together, 
uttering shrieks and yells, till the whole earth must have 
heard the uproar. Trembling with terror, the fairy 
stood rooted to the spot; and when day broke, island, 
torrent, and dragons had vanished, and in their stead 
was a barren rock. On the summit of the rock stood 
a black ostrich, and on its back were seated Cadichon, 
and the little niece of the fairy Gangana, for whose sake 
she had committed so many evil deeds. While the Fairy 
of the Fields was gazing in surprise at this strange sight, 
the ostrich spread its wings and flew off in the direction 
of the Fortunate Isle, and, followed unseen by the good 
fairy, entered the great hall where the queen was sitting 
on her throne. 

Proud and exultant was Gangana in her new shape, 
for, by all the laws of fairydom, if she succeeded in 
laying Cadichon at the feet of the queen, and received 
him back from her, he was in her power for life, and she 
might do with him as she would. This the good fairy 
knew well, and pressed on with all her strength, for the 
dreadful events of the night had almost exhausted her. 
But, with a mighty effort, she snatched the children away 
from the back of the ostrich, and placed them on the lap 
of the queen. 

With a scream of baffled rage the ostrich turned away, 
and Gangana stood in her place, waiting for the doom which 
she had brought upon herself. 

'You have neglected all my warnings,' said the 
queen, speaking more sternly than any fairy had ever 
heard her; 'and my sentence is that during two hun- 
dred years you lose all your privileges as a fairy, and 
under the form of an ostrich shall become the slave 
of the lowest and wickedest of the genii whom you 
have made your friends. As for these children, I shall 
keep them with me, and they shall be brought up at my 
court. ' 


And so they were, until they grew up and were old 
enough to be married. Then the Fairy of the Fields took 
them back to the kingdom of the old queen, where Petaldo 
was now reigning. But the cares of state proved too 
heavy both for him and Gillette, after the quiet life they 
had led for so many years, and they were rejoiced to be 
able to lay aside their crowns, and place them on the 
heads of Cadichon and his bride, who was as good as 
she was beautiful, though she was the niece of the wicked 
Gangana! And so well had Cadichon learned the lessons 
taught him at the court of the fairy queen, that never since 
the kingdom was a kingdom had the people been so well 
governed or so happy. And they went about the streets 
and the fields smiling with joy at the difference between 
the old times and the new, and whispering softly to each 

'Everything comes to him who knows how to wait.' 

{From Le Cabinet des Fits.) 


Once upon a time there lived in Turkey a pasha who had 
only one son, and so dearly did he love this boy that he let 
him spend the whole day amusing himself, instead of learn- 
ing how to be useful like his friends. 

Now the boy's favourite toy was a golden ball, and with 
this he would play from morning till night, without troubling 
anybody. One day, as he was sitting in the summer- 
house in the garden, making his ball run all along the 
walls and catching it again, he noticed an old woman 
with an earthen pitcher coming to draw water from a 
well which stood in a corner of the garden. In a moment 
he had caught his ball and flung it straight at the pitcher, 
which fell to the ground in a thousand pieces. The old 
woman started with surprise, but said nothing; only turned 
round to fetch another pitcher, and as soon as she had 
disappeared, the boy hurried out to pick up his ball. 

Scarcely was he back in the summer-house when he be- 
held the old woman a second time, approaching the well 
with the pitcher on her shoulder. She had just taken hold 
of the handle to lower it into the water, when — crash! 
And the pitcher lay in fragments at her feet. Of 
course she felt very angry, but for fear of the pasha she 
still held her peace, and spent her last pence in buying 
a fresh pitcher. But when this also was broken by a blow 
from the ball, her wrath burst forth, and shaking her fist 
towards the summer-house where the boy was hiding, 
she cried: 

' I wish you may be punished by falling in love with 
the silent princess. ' And having said this she vanished. 


For some time the boy paid no heed to her words — 
indeed he forgot them altogether; but as years went by, 
and he began to think more about things, the remembrance 
of the old woman's wish came back to his mind. 

' Who is the silent princess ? And why should it be a 
punishment to fall in love with her?' he asked himself, 
and received no answer. However, that did not prevent 
him from putting the question again and again, till at 
length he grew so weak and ill that he could eat nothing, 
and in the end was forced to lie in bed altogether. His 
father the pasha became so frightened by this strange dis- 
ease, that he sent for every physician in the kingdom to 
cure him, but no one was able to find a remedy. 

'How did your illness first begin, my son?' asked the 
pasha one day. 'Perhaps, if we knew that, we should 
also know better what to do for you/ 

Then the youth told him what had happened all those 
years before, when he was a little boy, and what the old 
woman had said to him. 

'Give me, I pray you,' he cried, when his tale was fin- 
ished, 'give me, I pray you, leave to go into the world in 
search of the princess, and perhaps this evil state may 
cease.' And, sore though his heart was to part from his 
only son, the pasha felt that the young man would cer- 
tainly die if he remained at home any longer. 

'Go, and peace be with you,' he answered; and went 
out to call his trusted steward, whom he ordered to accom- 
pany his young master. 

Their preparations were soon made, and early one 
morning the two set out. But neither old man nor 
young had the slightest idea where they were going, 
or what they were undertaking. First they lost their 
way in a dense forest, and from that they at length 
emerged in a wilderness where they wandered for six 
months, not seeing a living creature and finding scarcely 
anything to eat or drink, till they became nothing but 
skin and bone, while their garments hung in tatters 


about them. They had forgotten all about the princess, 
and their only wish was to find themselves back in the 
palace again, when, one day, they discovered that they 
were standing on the shoulder of a mountain. The stones 
beneath them shone as brightly as diamonds, and both 
their hearts beat with joy at beholding a tiny old man 
approaching them. The sight awoke all manner of recol- 
lections; the numb feeling that had taken possession of 
them fell away as if by magic, and it was with glad voices 
that they greeted the new-comer. i Where are we, my 
friend?' asked they; and the old man told them that this 
was the mountain where the sultan's daughter sat, covered 
by seven veils, and the shining of the stones was only the 
reflection of her own brilliance. 

On hearing this news all the dangers and difficulties 
of their past wandering vanished from their minds. 

'How can I reach her soonest?' asked the youth eagerly. 
But the old man only answered: 

' Have patience, my son, yet awhile. Another six months 
must go by before you arrive at the palace where she dwells 
with the rest of the women. And, even so, think weO, 
when you can, as should you fail to make her speak, you 
will have to pay forfeit with your life, as others have done. 
So beware!' 

But the prince only laughed at this counsel — as others 
had also done. 

After three months they found themselves on the top 
of another mountain, and the prince saw with surprise 
that its sides were coloured a beautiful red. Perched on 
some cliffs, not far off, was a small village, and the prince 
proposed to his friend that they should go and rest there. 
The villagers, on their part, welcomed them gladly, and 
gave them food to eat and beds to sleep on, and thank- 
ful indeed were the two travellers to repose their weary 

The next morning they asked their host if he couM 


tell them whether they were still many days' journey from 
the princess, and whether he knew why the mountain was 
so much redder than other mountains. 

'For three and a half more months you must still 
pursue your way/ answered he, 'and by that time you 
will find yourselves at the gate of the princess's palace. 
As for the colour of the mountain, that comes from the 
soft hue of her cheeks and mouth, which shines through 
the seven veils which cover her. But none have ever 
beheld her face, for she sits there, uttering no word, though 
one hears whispers of many having lost their lives for 
her sake.' 

The prince, however, would listen no further; and thank- 
ing the man for his kindness, he jumped up and, with the 
steward, set out to climb the mountain. 

On and on and on they went, sleeping under the trees 
or in caves, and living upon berries and any fish they could 
catch in the rivers. But at length, when their clothes 
were nearly in rags and their legs so tired that they could 
hardly walk any further, they saw on the top of the next 
mountain a palace of yellow marble. 

'There it is, at last/ cried the prince; and fresh blood 
seemed to spring in his veins. But as he and his com- 
panion began to climb towards the top they paused in 
horror, for the ground was white with dead men's skulls. 
It was the prince *who first recovered his voice, and he 
said to his friend, as carelessly as he could: 

'These must be the skulls of the men who tried to make 
the princess speak and failed. Well, if we fail too, our 
bones will strew the ground likewise.' 

'Oh! turn back now, my prince, while there is yet time,' 
entreated his companion. 'Your father gave you into 
my charge; but when we set out I did not know that certain 
death lay before us.' 

'Take heart, O Lala, take heart!' answered the prince. 
'A man can but die once. And, besides, the princess 
will have to speak some day, you know.' 



So they went on again, past skulls and dead men's bones 
in all degrees of whiteness. And by-and-by they reached 
another village, where they determined to rest for a little 
while, so that their wits might be fresh and bright for 
the task that lay before them. But this time, though 
the people were kind and friendly, their faces were 
gloomy, and every now and then woeful cries would rend 
the air. 

'Oh! my brother, have I lost you?' 'Oh! my son, shall 
I see you no more?' " And then, as the prince and his com- 
panion asked the meaning of these laments — which, 
indeed, was plain enough — the answer was given: 

'Ah, you also have come hither to die! This town 
belongs to the father of the princess, and when any rash 
man seeks to move the princess t© speech he must first 
obtain leave of the sultan. If that is granted him he is 
then led into the presence of the princess. What happens 
afterwards, perhaps the sight of these bones may help you 
to guess.' 

The young man bowed his head in token of thanks, 
and stood thoughtful for a short time. Then, turning to 
the Lala, he said: 

'Well, our destiny will soon be decided! Meanwhile 
we will find out all we can, and do nothing rashly.' 

For two or three days they wandered about the bazaars, 
keeping their eyes and ears open, when, one morning, 
they met a man carrying a nightingale in a cage. The 
bird was singing so joyously that the prince stopped to 
listen, and at once offered to buy him from his owner. 

'Oh, why cumber yourself with such a useless thing,' 
cried the Lala in disgust; 'have you not enough to occupy 
your hands and mind, without taking an extra burden?' 
But the prince, who liked having his own way, paid no 
heed to him, and paying the high price asked by the man, 
he carried the bird back to the inn, and hung him up in his 
chamber. That evening, as he was sitting alone, trying 
to think of something that would make the princess talk, 


and failing altogether, the nightingale pecked open her 
cage door, which was lightly fastened by a stick, and, 
perching on his shoulder, murmured softly in his ear: 

'What makes you so sad, my prince?' The young man 
started. In his native country birds did not talk, and, 
like many people, he was always rather afraid of what 
he did not understand. But in a moment he felt ashamed 
of his folly, and explained that he had travelled for more 
than a year, and over thousands of miles, to win the hand 
of the sultan's daughter. And now that he had reached 
his goal he could think of no plan to force her to 

'Oh! do not trouble your head about that,' replied the 
bird, 'it is quite easy! Go this evening to the women's 
apartments, and take me with you, and when you enter 
the princess's private chamber hide me under the ped- 
estal which supports the great golden candlestick. The 
princess herself will be wrapped so thickly in her seven 
veils that she can see nothing, neither can her face be 
seen by anyone. Then inquire after her health, but she 
will remain quite silent; and next say that you are sorry 
to have disturbed her, and that you will have a little talk 
with the pedestal of the candlestick. When you speak I 
will answer.' 

The prince threw his mantle over the bird, and started 
for the palace, where he begged an audience of the sultan. 
This was soon granted him, and leaving the nightingale 
hidden by the mantle, in a dark corner outside the door, 
he walked up to the throne on which his highness was 
sitting, and bowed low before him. 

'What is your request?' asked the sultan, looking closely 
at the young man, who was tall and handsome; but when 
he heard the tale he shook his head pityingly. 

'If you can make her speak she shall be your wife,' 
answered he; 'but if not — did you mark the skulls that 
strewed the mountain side?' 

' Some day a man is bound to break the spell, O sultan/ 


replied the youth boldly; 'and why should not I be he as 
well as another? At any rate, my word is pledged, and 
I cannot draw back now.' 

'Well, go if you must,' said the sultan. And he bade 
his attendants lead the way to the chamber of the prin- 
cess, but to allow the young man to enter alone. 

Catching up, unseen, his mantle and the cage as they 
passed into the dark corridor — for by this time night was 
coming on — the youth found himself standing in a room 
bare except for a pile of silken cushions, and one tall golden 
candlestick. His heart beat high as he looked at the 
cushions, and knew that, shrouded within the shining 
veils that covered them, lay the much longed-for princess. 
Then, fearful that after all other eyes might be watching 
him, he hastily placed the nightingale under the open 
pedestal on which the candlestick was resting, and turning 
again he steadied his voice, and besought the princess to 
tell him of her well-being. 

Not by even a movement of her hand did the princess 
show that she had heard, and the young man, who of 
course expected this, went on to speak of his travels and 
of the strange countries he had passed through; but not 
a sound broke the silence. 

'I see clearly that you are interested in none of these 
things/ said he at last, 'and as I have been forced to hold 
my peace for so many months, I feel that now I really 
must talk to somebody, so I shall go and address my con- 
versation to the candlestick.' And with that he crossed 
the room behind the princess, and cried: 'O fairest of 
candlesticks, how are you?' 

'Very well indeed, my lord,' answered the nightingale; 
'but I wonder how many years have gone by since any 
one has spoken with me. And, now that you have come, 
rest, I pray you, awhile, and listen to my story.' 

'Willingly,' replied the youth, curling himself up on 
the floor, for there was no cushion for him to sit on. 


. 'Once upon a time,' began the nightingale, 'there lived 
a pasha whose daughter was the most beautiful maiden 
in the whole kingdom. Suitors she had in plenty, but 
she was not easy to please, and at length there were only 
three whom she felt she could even think of marrying. 
Not knowing which of the three she liked best, she took 
counsel with her father, who summoned the young men 
into his presence, and then told them that they must each 
of them learn some trade, and whichever of them proved 
the cleverest at the end of six months should become the 
husband of the princess. 

' Though the three suitors may have been secretly disap- 
pointed, they could not help feeling that this test was quite 
fair, and left the palace together, talking as they went 
of what handicrafts they might set themselves to follow. 
The day was hot, and when they reached a spring that 
gushed out of the side of the mountain, they stopped to 
drink and rest, and then one of them said: 

'"It will be best that we should each seek our fortunes 
alone; so let us put our rings under this stone, and go our 
separate ways. And the first one who returns hither will 
take his ring, and the others will take theirs. Thus we 
shall know whether we have all fulfilled the commands of 
the pasha, or if some accident has befallen any of us." 

'"Good," replied the other two. And three rings were 
placed in a little hole, and carefully covered again by the 

Then they parted, and for six months they knew naught 
of each other, till, on the day appointed, they met at 
the spring. Right glad they all were, and eagerly they 
talked of what they had done, and how the time had been 

'"I think I shall win the princess," said the eldest, with 
a laugh, "for it is not everybody that is able to accomplish 
a whole year's journey in an hour!" 

'"That is very clever, certainly," answered his friend; 
"but if you are to govern a kingdom it may be still more 


useful to have the power of seeing what is happening at 
a distance; and that is what / have learnt," replied the 

'"No, no, my dear comrades," cried the third, "your 
trades are all very well; but when the pasha hears that 
I can bring back the dead to life he will know which of 
us three is to be his son-in-law. But come, there only 
remain a few hours of the six months he granted us. It 
is time that we hastened back to the palace." 

'"Stop a moment," said the second, "it would be well 
to know what is going on in the palace." And plucking 
some small leaves from a tree near by, he muttered some 
words and made some signs, and laid them on his eyes. 
In an instant he turned pale, and uttered a cry. 

'"What is it? What is it?" exclaimed the others; and, 
with a shaking voice, he gasped: 

'"The princess is lying on her bed, and has barely a 
few minutes to live. Oh! can no one save her?" 

'"/ can," answered the third, taking a small box from 
his turban; "this ointment will cure any illness. But how 
to reach her in time?" 

'"Give it to me," said the first. And he wished him- 
self by the bedside of the princess, which was surrounded 
by the sultan and his weeping courtiers. Clearly there 
was not a second to lose, for the princess had grown 
unconscious, and her face cold. Plunging his finger 
into the ointment he touched her eyes, mouth and ears 
with the paste, and with beating heart awaited the 

'It was swifter than he supposed. As he looked the 
colour came back into her cheeks, and she smiled up at 
her father. The sultan, almost speechless with joy at 
this sudden change, embraced his daughter tenderly, and 
then turned to the young man to whom he owed her 

'"Are you not one of those three whom I sent forth 
to learn a trade six months ago?" asked he. And the 



young man answered yes, and that the other two were 
even now on their way to the palace, so that the sultan 
might judge between them.' 

At this point in his story the nightingale stopped, and 
asked the prince which of the three he- thought .had the 
best right to the princess. 

'The one who had learned how to prepare the ointment,' 
replied he. 

' But if it had not been for the man who could see what 
was happening at a distance they would never have known 
that the princess was ill,' said the nightingale. 'I would 
give it to him' And the strife between them waxed hot, 


till, suddenly, the listening princess started up from her 
cushions and cried: 

'Oh, you fools! cannot you understand that if it had 
not been for him who had power to reach the palace in 
time the ointment itself would have been useless, for death 
would have claimed her? It is he and no other who ought 
to have the princess!' 

At the first sound of the princess's voice, a slave, who 
was standing at the door, ran at full speed to tell the sultan 
of the miracle which had taken place, and the delighted 
father hastened to the spot But by this time the princess 
perceived that she had fallen into a trap which had been 
cunningly laid for her, and would not utter another word. 
All she could be prevailed on to do was to make signs 
to her father that the man who wished to be her husband 
must induce her to speak three times. And she smiled 
to herself beneath her seven veils as she thought of the 
impossibility of that. 

When the sultan told the prince that though he had 
succeeded once, he would have twice to pass through the 
same test, the young man's face clouded over. It did 
not seem to him fair play, but he dared not object, so he 
only bowed low, and contrived to step back close to the 
spot where the nightingale was hidden. As it was now 
quite dark he tucked unseen the little cage under his cloak, 
and left the palace. 

'Why are you so gloomy?' asked the nightingale, as 
soon as they were safely outside. 'Everything has gone 
exactly right! Of course the princess was very angry 
with herself for having spoken. And did you see that, 
at her first words, the veils that covered her began to rend ? 
Take me back to-morrow evening, and place me on the 
pillar by the lattice. Fear nothing, you have only to trust 
to me!' 

The next evening, towards sunset, the prince left the 
cage behind him, and with the bird in the folds of his 
garment slipped into the palace and made his way straight 


to the princess's apartments. He was at once admitted by 
the slaves who guarded the door, and took care to pass 
near the window so that the nightingale hopped unseen 
to the top of a pillar. Then he turned and bowed low 
to the princess, and asked her several questions; but, as 
before, she answered nothing, and, indeed, gave no sign 
that she heard. After a few minutes the young man bowed 
again, and crossing over to the window, he said: 

'Oh, pillar! it is no use speaking to the princess, she 
will not utter one word; and as I must talk to somebody, 
I have come to you. Tell me how you have been all this 
long while?' 

'I thank you,' replied a voice from the pillar, 'I am 
feeling very well. And it is lucky for me that the princess 
is silent, or else you would not have wanted to speak to 
me. To reward you, I will relate to you an interesting 
tale that I lately overheard, and about which I should like 
to have your opinion.' 

'That will be charming,' answered the prince, 'so pray 
begin at once.' 

'Once upon a time,' said the nightingale, 'there lived 
a woman who was so beautiful that every man who saw 
her fell in love with her. But she was very hard to please, 
and refused to wed any of them, though she managed to 
keep friends with all. Years passed away in this manner, 
almost without her noticing them, and one by one the 
young men grew tired of waiting, and sought wives who 
may have been less handsome, but were also less proud, 
and at length only three of her former wooers remained 
— Baldschi, Jagdschi, and Firedschi. Still she held her- 
self apart, thought herself better and lovelier than other 
women, when, on a certain evening, her eyes were opened 
at last to the truth. She was sitting before her mirror, 
combing her curls, when amongst her raven locks she found 
a long white hair! 

'At this dreadful sight her heart gave a jump, and then 
stood still. 


'"I am growing old," she said to herself, "and if I do 
not choose a husband soon, I shall never get one! I know 
that either of those men would gladly marry me to-morrow, 
but I cannot decide between them. I must invent some 
way to find out which of them is the best, and lose no time 
about it." 

'So instead of going to sleep, she thought all night long 
of different plans, and in the morning she arose and dressed 

'"That will have to do," she muttered as she pulled 
out the white hair which had cost her so much trouble. 
" It is not very good, but" I can think of nothing better; and 
— well, they are none of them clever, and I dare say they 
will easily fall into the trap." Then she called her slave 
and bade her let Jagdschi know that she would be ready 
to receive him in an hour's time. After that she went into 
the garden and dug a grave under a tree, by which she laid 
a white shroud. 

'Jagdschi was delighted to get the gracious message; 
and, putting on his newest garments, he hastened to the 
lady's house, but great was his dismay at finding her 
stretched on her cushions, weeping bitterly. 

'"What is the matter, O Fair One?" he asked, bowing 
low before her. 

"'A terrible thing has happened," said she, her voice 
choked with sobs. "My father died two nights ago, and 
I buried him in my garden. But now I find that he was 
a wizard, and was not dead at all, for his grave is empty 
and he is wandering about somewhere in the world." 

4 "That is evil news indeed," answered Jagdschi; "but 
can I do nothing to comfort you?" 

'"There is one thing you can do," replied she, "and 
that is to wrap yourself in the shroud and lay yourself 
in the grave. If he should not return till after three hours 
have elapsed he will have lost his power over me, and be 
forced to go and wander elsewhere." 

'Now Jagdschi was proud of the trust reposed in 


him, and wrapping himself in the shroud, he stretched 
himself at full length in the grave. After some time 
Baldschi arrived in his turn, and found the lady groaning 
and lamenting. She told him that her father had been a 
wizard, and that in case, as was very likely, he should 
wish to leave his grave and come to work her evil, Baldschi 
was to take a stone and be ready to crush in his head, if 
he showed signs of moving. 

'Baldschi, enchanted at being able to do his lady a ser- 
vice, picked up a stone, and seated himself by the side of 
the grave wherein lay Jagdschi. 

'Meanwhile the hour arrived in which Firedschi was 
accustomed to pay his respects, and, as in the case of the 
other two, he discovered the lady overcome with grief. 
To him she said that a wizard who was an enemy of her 
father's had thrown the dead man out of his grave, and 
had taken his place. " But," she added, " if you can bring 
the wizard into my presence, all his power will go from 
him; if not, then I am lost." 

'"Ah, lady, what is there that I would not do for you!" 
cried Firedschi; and running down to the grave, he seized 
the astonished Jagdschi by the waist, and flinging the 
body over his shoulder, he hastened with him into the 
house. At the first moment Baldschi was so surprised 
at this turn of affairs, for which the lady had not prepared 
him, that he sat still and did nothing. But by-and-by 
he sprang up and hurled the stone after the two flying fig- 
ures, hoping that it might kill them both. Fortunately 
it touched neither, and soon all three were in the presence 
of the lady. Then Jagdschi, thinking that he had de- 
livered her from the power of the wizard, slid off the back 
of Firedschi, and threw the shroud from him.' 

'Tell me, my prince/ said the nightingale, when he 
had finished his story, 'which of the three men deserved 
to win the lady? I myself should choose Firedschi.' 

'No, no,' answered the prince, who understood the 
wink the bird had given him; 'it was Baldschi who 


took the most trouble, and it was certainly he who de- 
served the lady.' 

But the nightingale would not agree; and they began 
to quarrel, till a third voice broke in: 

'How can you talk such nonsense?' cried the prin- 
cess — and as she spoke a sound of tearing was heard. 
'Why, you have never even thought of Jagdschi, who 
lay for three hours in the grave, with a stone held over 
his head! Of course it was he whom the lady chose for 
her husband!' 

It was not many minutes before the news reached the 
sultan; but even now he would not consent to the marriage 
till his daughter had spoken a third time. On hearing 
this, the young man took counsel with the nightingale 
how best to accomplish this, and the bird told him that 
as the princess, in her fury at having fallen into the snare 
laid for her, had ordered the pillar to be broken in pieces, 
he must be hidden in the folds of a curtain that hung by 
the door. 

The following evening the prince entered the palace, 
and walked boldly up to the princess's apartments. As 
he entered the nightingale flew from under his arm and 
perched himself on top of the door, where he was entirely 
concealed by the folds of the dark curtain. The young 
man talked as usual to the princess without obtaining a 
single word in reply, and at length he left her lying under 
the heap of shining veils — now rent in many places — and 
crossed the room towards the door, from which came a 
voice that gladly answered him. 

For a while the two talked together: then the night- 
ingale asked if the prince was fond of stories, as he had 
lately heard one which interested and perplexed him greatly. 
In reply, the prince begged that he might hear it at once, 
and without further delay the nightingale began: 

' Once upon a time, a carpenter, a tailor, and a student 
set out together to see the world. After wandering about 



for some months they grew tired of travelling, and resolved 
to stay and rest in a small town that took their fancy. So 
they hired a little house, and looked about for work to do, 
returning at sunset to smoke their pipes and talk over the 
events of the day. 

'One night in the middle of summer it was hotter 
than usual, and the carpenter found himself unable to 
sleep. Instead of tossing about on his cushions, making 
himself more uncomfortable than he was already, the 
man wisely got up and drank some coffee and lit his 
long pipe. Suddenly his eye fell on some pieces of 
wood in a corner and, being very clever with his fingers, 
he had soon set up a perfect statue of a girl about 
fourteen years old. This so pleased and quieted him that 
he grew quite drowsy, and going back to bed fell fast 

'But the carpenter was not the only person who lay 
awake that night. Thunder was in the air, and the 
tailor became so restless that he thought he would go 
downstairs and cool his feet in the little fountain outside 
the garden door. To reach the door he had to pass 
through the room where the carpenter had sat and 
smoked, and against the wall he beheld standing a 
beautiful girl. He stood speechless for an instant 
before he ventured to touch her hand, when, to his 
amazement, he found that she was fashioned out of 

'"Ah! I can make you more beautiful still," said he. 
And fetching from a shelf a roll of yellow silk which he 
had bought that day from a merchant, he cut and draped 
and stitched, till at length a lovely robe clothed the slender 
figure. When this was finished, the restlessness had de- 
parted from him, and he went back to bed. 

'As dawn approached the student arose and prepared 
to go to the mosque with the first ray of sunlight. But, 
when he saw the maiden standing there, he fell on his 
knees and lifted his hands in ecstasy. 


'"Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air, clad in the 
beautv of ten thousand stars," he murmured to himself. 
"Surelv a form so rare was never meant to live without 
a soul." And forthwith he prayed with all his might that 
life should be breathed into it. 

'And his prayer was heard, and the beautiful statue 
became a living girl, and the three men all fell in love with 
her, and each desired to have her to wife. 

'Now,' said the nightingale, 'to which of them did the 
maiden really belong? It seems to me that the carpenter 
had the best right to her.' 

' Oh, but the student would never have thought of pray- 
ing that she might be given a soul had not the tailor drawn 
attention to her loveliness by the robe which he put upon 
her/ answered the prince, who guessed what he was ex- 
pected to say; and they soon set up quite a pretty quarrel. 
Suddenly the princess, furious that neither of them alluded 
to the part played by the student, quite forgot her vow of 
silence and cried loudly: 

'Idiots that you are! how could she belong to any one 
but the student? If it had not been for him, all that the 
others did would have gone for nothing! Of course it was 
he who married the maiden!' And as she spoke the seven 
veils fell from her, and she stood up, the fairest princess 
that the world has ever seen. 

'You have won me,' she said smiling, holding out her 
hand to the prince. 

And so they were married; and after the wedding-feast 
was over they sent for the old woman whose pitcher the 
prince had broken so long ago, and she dwelt in the palace, 
and became nurse to their children, and lived happily till 
she died. 

(Adapted from TUrkische Volksmdrchen aus Stambui gesamtnelt, ubersetzt und 
eingeleitet von Dr. Ignaz Kiinos. Brilla, Leiden.) 

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